Saturday, May 08, 2021

Gov. Stitt signs bill prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” curriculum

Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” Curriculum

OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor today signed a bill that will prohibit Oklahoma public schools, colleges and universities from teaching “Critical Race Theory” and from requiring mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling.

House Bill 1775 is authored by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.

“I’m grateful to the governor for seeing the need for signing this crucial legislation,” West said. “Already, this harmful indoctrination has infiltrated Oklahoma schools from as early as pre-kindergarten classrooms all the way through college courses. Some of our state universities currently are requiring this mandatory training for their freshman students.”

West notes that much of the curriculum, often referred to as “Critical Race Theory” is based on Marxist ideology that is designed to teach children to hate American exceptionalism and distrust others based on skin color or sex. Additionally it teaches that most laws and systems in America are historically rooted in the racist oppression of people of color and other marginalized groups. It promotes the theory of implicit bias and inherent racism due to one’s skin color.

West stressed that the bill in no way stops the teaching of history or anything currently in Oklahoma education standards, including curriculum that shows historical examples of racism or genocide or any other subject that might stir strong feelings in students. In fact, he says these examples from history absolutely should be taught. What the bill does do is stop the forced programming of students to give predetermined answers to certain questions leading them to say they are inherently racist or sexist because of the color of their skin or their gender. It also stops teachers or professors from being able to intimate that a student must feel a certain way because of their heritage. 

West said he was inspired in his efforts by the sentiment from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is widely quoted as saying, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 

Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, is the Senate author of the bill.

“As a veteran educator with fifteen years’ experience, teaching U.S. History, Government, and the Constitution, I have seen many shifts in curriculum such as pedagogy and critical thinking models” Bullard said. “Unfortunately, there is a disturbing trend that has currently found its way into both higher education and in K-12. Too many schools and institutions have stopped focusing on high quality education and instead have turned to a policy of indoctrination. As someone who is proud of my public-school roots, this shift is very disappointing and is not acceptable for the students of our state. I am resolved to make sure this does not continue in Oklahoma. Critical Race Theory is poison to the minds of students and promotes racism rather than ending it. It is robbing our society of shinning stars, so needed in our culture today. I am partial to the words of Dr. King when he said, ‘The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’  I am also moved by the words of another great American, Fredrick Douglas, who said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. And it's true. You cannot give a child back their childhood.’

“Though I did not choose the number, HB1775 it is rightly numbered. 1775 was the year of ‘the shot heard around the world.’ The year that America awoke to her independence. Passage of this bill is a declaration of Oklahoma’s independence against false teaching, pushing back against those who would divide us. I will not stop fighting until our students are free of this indoctrination.”

The bill has an emergency clause meaning it takes effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

Kevin West serves District 54 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Moore in Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.

Here is a statement by Governor Kevin Stitt:


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