CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — How students are taught about history and justice in public schools is now a heated debate with some asking for a ban on teachings that support curriculum on critical race theory.
Parents and teachers are reacting across the spectrum to the possibility of teaching critical race theory with some outraged.
“You have a duty, we are entrusting our children to you. We teach our children morals and values. When they grow up to commit crimes and end up in prison and kill a police officer, it’s our fault? No it’s your fault,” said a mom at a school board meeting.
Others are outraged that school boards and states are allowed to block this kind of education.
“It seeks to prevent teachers from teaching the truth about slavery, racism and other racial matters,” said a parent at a Florida school board meeting.
It might be new school for a lot of parents who don’t know about the study, but the term critical race theory has been around for 40 years, attributed to the first tenured African American professor of law at Harvard, Derrick Bell, along with one of his students, who centered their teaching on racial politics.
According to the authors of a book based on the works of Bell, “Critical race theory contains an activist dimension. It not only tries to understand our social situation, but to change it; it sets out not only to ascertain how society organizes itself along racial lines and hierarchies, but to transform it for the better.”
However, some say the theory teaches children more about hate than betterment.
Dozens of states have considered or passed laws banning the curriculum. The Florida school board is the most recent to create a rule to prevent critical race theory or any similar teaching.
“I think it is really important when we’re doing history and civics that it is actual fact and that we have an education system that is preferred fact over narrative,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
That narrative, according to those against the teaching, says anytime they disagreed with critical race theory, there was pressure on students from teachers and administrators to conform.
“We should see people as individuals, and that’s what critical race theory doesn’t do. It teaches people that if you’re white, you’re an oppressor. If you’re black, you’re oppressed. I think that’s wrong,” said Dylan Quattrucci, a student opposed to critical race theory.
Conversely, other students think teaching on race in this way creates space for needed conversations.
“We need critical race theory, period. When people are too afraid to have the conversation, how will we ever progress?” said another student.