By J.D. Davidson
(The Center Square) – First it was the state’s attorney general and now a state representative wants to make sure a controversial history and civics theory does not make its way into Ohio schools.
Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, has introduced House Bill 322, which would prohibit critical race theory and action civics in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum. It would stop any state agency, school district or school from teaching or training anyone to adopt or believe concepts surrounding critical race theory.
“Critical race theory is a dangerous and flat-out wrong theory. It is designed to look at everything from a ‘race first’ lens, which is the very definition of racism,” Jones said Tuesday after filing the bill. “CRT claiming to fight racism is laughable. Students should not be asked to ‘examine their whiteness’ or ‘check their privilege.’”
Specifically, Jones’ bill addresses concepts such as:
• One race or sex being inherently superior to another;
• An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
• An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race;
• An individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex;
• An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
• The advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; and
• With respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality.
The bill also would prohibit students from being forced to advocate or lobby for specific positions at the local, state or federal level. It would make any class that contains any of the prohibited elements ineligible to meet state graduation requirements.
“This anti-American doctrine has no place in Ohio’s schools since we passed our founding documents curriculum mandating the Declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordinance, Ohio Constitution and the U.S. Constitution be taught to all students,” Jones said. “We must protect the integrity of our education system in order to ensure that all Ohio’s youth is receiving a top-tier education, which will not be possible if CRT is allowed to be taught in our schools.”
The U.S. Department of Education issued two proposed “priorities” last month that would direct federal grant money to projects that “incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning” and projects that “promote information literacy skills.”
Specifically, the money would go to programs that train new and veteran teachers in how to teach American history, civics and government and involve teaching high school students about American history and/or civics.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 19 other attorneys general from around the country urged the U.S. Department of Education last week to drop a proposed plan or make it clear federal money cannot be used to fund projects based on critical race theory.
“We need to learn from the real evils of slavery and racism, but these proposals will only create more misunderstanding,” Yost said. “Critical race theory is nothing more than ideology posing as history and we should not confuse the two.”