A local school board in the state of Washington has banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in its public schools.
The city of Richland, Washington adopted a policy designed to eliminate the teaching of ideologies such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) in government-run public schools. Policy 2360, dubbed the Race and Curriculum policy, passed on a four-to-one vote on October 25.
The discussion of the policy took several hours, with members of the public participating, NBC reports. Amendments were suggested and rejected.
Longtime school board member Jill Oldson voted against the policy. All four of the other board members voted in favor.
Proposed by Richland School Board Member Semi Bird, the policy states students should not be taught that success and moral character are determined by race, economic status, or skin color.
The policy further dictates students be taught the facts of history without political bias and teachers should focus on education, not indoctrination, the Tri-City Herald reports.
The policy approved in Richland mirrors one adopted by neighboring town Kennewick in August.
When the Kennewick School District proposed its Race and Curriculum policy, the proposal passed unanimously, the Tri-City Herald reported at the time.
Kennewick School Board Member Gabe Galbraith told the Herald the policy was necessary to protect children from politically biased content such as the 1619 Project and the Zinn Education Project, which promotes the teaching of a socialistic, anti-American “people’s history” in the nation’s middle- and high-school classrooms.
Rob Woodford, president of the Kennewick Education Association teachers union, told the Herald Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not being taught in the school district.
“Educators in Kennewick have always done a great job presenting factual information to students in a professional manner, and that will continue to be the case regardless of incendiary but, ultimately, unsubstantiated issues, which tend to rise up and then fade away,” Woodford wrote in an email to the Herald.
Galbraith says that is not true and the district needs the Race and Curriculum Policy.
“The most talked-about issue during my campaign [for school board] was a concern in the community that CRT principles and tenets were being taught in our schools,” Galbraith told Heartland Daily News, speaking for himself and not on behalf of the Kennewick School District. “This policy gives parents peace of mind.”
Board meetings in the Kennewick School District often included discussions about CRT. There was no clear consensus on whether the theory was being taught in the district, but the board agreed children should be taught that people of all races should be valued equally.
“Students must learn factual U.S. history,” Galbraith said. “Students will not be taught that their race determines their value or worth or that members of any race are inherently racist, oppressors, or victims. No student shall be taught that their skin color determines their ability to succeed, that their race determines their moral character, or that their race make them responsible for past transgressions of their race.”
Recognizing that once a classroom door is shut the teacher has control of the students and over what is discussed, Galbraith says the district expect compliance with the policy.
“We have amazing teachers in our district, and this policy will not impact the 99 percent of those who are there following the curriculum as designed,” Galbraith said. “For the 1 percent that were teaching or thinking about teaching CRT principles, they are now accountable to this policy and the consequences of their actions.”
Kennewick School Board Member Micah Valentine says he agrees that consequences are necessary to ensure teachers follow the policy.
“I think CRT is awful, and I think it harms our society and takes our society backwards,” Valentine said. “I am in favor of anything that can prevent, eliminate, or give teeth to the ability to discipline anyone who does teach this.”
Richland School Board Member Audra Byrd describes the decision to implement the Race and Curriculum policy as “a huge win for the community.”
“Ninety-eight percent of teachers are absolutely amazing,” Byrd said. “They work hard to teach our students wonderful facts in interesting ways, they keep personal and political beliefs to themselves, and they do not [engage in] racist or inappropriate indoctrination.
“For those few who have felt inclined to push a personal, inappropriate agenda to a captive audience, this policy will help ensure accountability,” Byrd said. “All employees in the district must follow district policy per their employment contract. This policy should help protect children from indoctrination, help prevent racism in any form, and help build a rich and diverse education for our students.”
Byrd says her board is considering additional policy proposals to stop teachers from imposing their personal beliefs on children.
“I am looking forward to another two policies we plan to bring forward in November 2022,” Byrd said. “The Controversial Issues Policy and the Flag Policy, where I will be asking for my board’s support to get rid of all controversial personal-belief flags and posters in the classroom.
“If we can get this passed, it will be another huge step forward in protecting all children from indoctrination and ensuring an academically safe learning environment,” Byrd said.
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