Missouri Senate approves restrictions on racial education in schools

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Teachers in Missouri’s K-12 public schools would be restricted in how they talk about race and history, under a bill approved Wednesday in the state Senate.

The Senate, led by the GOP, gave the measure initial approval in an oral vote. Another vote is required to send the bill to the Republican-led House of Representatives.

The proposal is the latest in a GOP-led nationwide effort to advance what supporters are demandingParents’ rightsand cracking down on what some conservative politicians have called “critical race theory.”

Critical Race Theoryis a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism, which legal scholars say is systemic in the nation’s institutions. But it has also become a catchphrase to describe concepts some conservatives find offensive, such as white privilege, systemic inequality, and inherent bias.

The Missouri Legislature would prohibit schools from prescribing teachers to be inferior should they receive benefits or, because of their race, “bear collective guilt and be inherently responsible for acts committed by others in the past”.

The bill includes exceptions for teaching about “sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, affirmative action” and laws leading to discrimination, and for “discussing current events in a historical context.”

Classes on Black, Native American, Women’s, Asian American and Latino history are also included in the measure.

Parents who believe their children’s teachers have broken the rules could file a complaint with the state Department of Education.

Supporters and opponents of the measure are at odds as to what the bill’s actual effect would be.

Republican sponsor Senator Andrew Koenig said his bill would not prevent teachers from explaining slavery and racism in America to students.

“There is a big difference between saying that a certain group of people historically thought individuals were inferior, and saying that this is the case today, or saying that it is a fact that certain races are inferior to others ‘ said King.

When asked by Democratic Senator Karla May of St. Louis in the Senate whether educators could talk about current legislation with racial implications, Koenig said it was “perfectly fine.”

“If there are certain policies that can be considered racist, it’s perfectly fine to teach about them in the present as well,” Koenig said. “What we’re not saying is: Little Johnny in the classroom is somehow inherently racist or accountable for the actions of others.”

May and other Democrats expressed concern that despite the spin-offs, the measure would discourage teachers from speaking about black history.

“As difficult as this conversation is, it’s a conversation that needs to happen in our education system,” May said.

Along with restrictions on how race is discussed in schools, the bill would ensure that schools provide public access to syllabuses, textbooks, source materials and curriculum.

Similar measures have been proposed in other Republican-dominated statehouses, includingSouth Carolina.

A federal judge in Florida issued a restraining orderprevent a law signed into law last year by Ron DeSantis, likely Florida’s presidential hopeful, from going into effect in colleges after previously blocking its implementation in companies.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/missouri-senate-oks-limits-on-race-education-in-schools/ Missouri Senate approves restrictions on racial education in schools

Sarah Y. Kim

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