Updated List of States Taking Action
On Friday, November 12, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a bill banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools, after it passed by overwhelming majorities in the state house and senate. The new ban applies to public K-12 education statewide. House Bill 1508, a simple one-page document, passed the house 38-9, then passed the Senate by a vote of 76-16. North Dakota becomes the 13th state enacting a ban on CRT in public schools, but stopped short of banning it in higher education.
The bill reads:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA:
A new section to chapter 15.1-21 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:
Curriculum – Critical race theory – Prohibited.
Each school district and public school shall ensure instruction of its curriculum is factual , objective, and aligned to the kindergarten through grade twelve state content standards. A school district or public school may not include instruction relating to critical race theory in any portion of the district’s required curriculum under sections 15.1 -21 -01 or 15.1 -21 -02, or any other curriculum offered by the district or school. For purposes of this section, “critical race theory” means the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality. The superintendent of public instruction may adopt rules to govern this section.
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This Act becomes effective upon its filing with the secretary of state.
Note the simplicity of the definition of CRT: “the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality.” Boiled down to its essences, this definition now allows the superintendent of public instruction to craft straightforward rules defining how public schools can teach about race in America.
North Dakota joins 12 other states in removing CRT from public schools. These states have passed some form of CRT ban in either public schools, colleges, state agencies, or all of the above (adapted from CriticalRace.org/states):
- Arizona: In July, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill banning CRT in elementary schools and state-run agencies.
- Florida: The state board of education voted unanimously in June 2021 to remove any trace of CRT from public school curricula, threatening school districts with loss of funding for non-compliance.
- Georgia: In June 2021, the Georgia Board of Education adopted a resolution that bars “the practice of protest civics (extracurricular political protest and lobbying as required schoolwork), while also preventing Georgia schools from instilling in students the key tenets of critical race theory.”
- Idaho: First state to pass a bill banning CRT. Governor Brad Little signed a bill in April banning certain aspects of CRT in K-12 education. However, critics say the bill didn’t go far enough. The state chapter of the NEA has declared it will continue to incorporate social justice into its teaching goals, indicating further fights may lie ahead.
- Iowa: Iowa passed a ban on CRT in K-12 education in June 2021.
- Montana: Montana’s Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, issued a 25-page legal opinion in May 2021 that could have far-reaching implications beyond the state. Knudsen opined that requiring CRT and anti-racism training violated federal and state civil rights law. This opinion extends beyond public schools, and could lead to the AG protecting the civil rights of all Montana citizens who face such mandates in a wide range of settings. Knudson issued his opinion in response to a request for clarification from the state superintendent of public education.
- New Hampshire: State representatives included a ban on CRT in public schools in the state budget that passed in the 2021 session, adding New Hampshire to the list of states that have banned elements of CRT from public school curriculum. This followed the defeat of a stand-alone ban bill.
- Oklahoma: Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill in May 2021, banning CRT from all public schools, including colleges and universities.
- South Carolina: A bill banning CRT stalled in the legislature in 2021. However, a provision was inserted into the budget bill that restricts funding for any CRT and related lesson plans in South Carolina. Thus CRT has been banned in South Carolina—at least for one year.
- Tennessee: Tennessee became one of the states passing laws against teaching CRT in K-12 education in May, shortly after Idaho passed their law. The Department of Education still has a strong dedication to equitable outcomes.
- Texas: After signing HB 3979 into law in May 2021, Governor Greg Abbott noted that Texas must do more to promote proper history curriculum practices in Texas public schools. HB 3979 bans some aspects of CRT and the 1619 Project from social studies and history in K-12 education. The NEA has vowed to fight back against this ban.
- Utah: Utah has not passed an outright ban of CRT; it has passed a resolution encouraging the State Board of Education to define critical race theory and review standards for curriculum.
Several other states have indicated bills will be considered in the 2022 legislative sessions, including Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming. In contrast, several states have passed laws or created regulations requiring CRT to be infused in every aspect of the curriculum.
North Carolina passed a bill banning CRT out of both chambers of the legislature in 2021, but the (democratic) governor vetoed it.DONATE
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