Missouri lawmakers hear testimony in favor of banning key race theory
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Republican lawmakers are asking the governor to ban the teaching of critical race theory in Missouri schools.
Earlier this month, a letter drafted by Senator Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) and signed by other Republicans asked Governor Mike Parson to issue an executive order banning the teaching of critical race theory. (CRT) and “Project 1619” in schools before students return in August.
Members of the House and Senate Joint Committee on Education heard testimony Monday supporting why it should be banned in the state, but Democrats at the meeting were annoyed. because no one said in favor of CRT.
“Today I feel it is important to hear from those who have managed to weather the official cycle of power in their district,” said Sen. Committee Chairman Cindy O’Laughlin (R- Shelbina) said.
CRT is a hot topic that is causing a stir across the country as other states pass legislation banning the curriculum in their public school systems.
“If we are interested in gathering information and really understanding the big picture of what is happening, for its purpose and its impact on students both good and bad, if bad, then I hopefully we as a committee really consider completely diverse views as opposed to having witnesses testify,” said Senator Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City).
The first to speak was Dr. Mary Byrne, leader of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core.
Byrne told the committee: “The CRT presents the world’s view of the social structures of power through the lens of race.
Director of Government Relations Michael Harris of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said the department did not issue guidance on CRT because it is a locally controlled state.
“To my knowledge, the majority of our K-12 public schools do not teach critical race theory,” Harris said.
CRT is known as an academic study of how racism has affected the United States through things like politics to culture. Parents and teachers who were asked to testify on Monday agree it needs to be banned from school.
“The CRT manipulates immigrants to identify as outsiders, not Americans,” says Maki Randelman.
Randelman said she and her family moved from Israel in the last decade. She is of Japanese descent but became a US citizen a few years back. She said on behalf of her children testifying, the children are being taught CRT in public schools in the St. Louis.
Rachel Aguirre is a teacher at Lee’s Summit. She told CRT lawmakers to pit students against each other.
“What we see in our school system today is that we are pitting black children against white children,” Aguirre said. “It’s not even the kids who are doing this, it’s the adults who are teasing the kids with each other.”
Representative Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) is one of the lawmakers on the committee that wants to ban CRT and “Project 1619” from Missouri schools.
“Our educators in our school districts should teach our children how to think and what not to think,” says Schroer.
Several witnesses along with lawmakers criticized Dr. LaGarrett King, a professor at the University of Missouri. King has worked with many schools across the state as a curriculum consultant. He is an associate professor and director of the Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education. O’Laughlin said he was invited to testify at Monday’s hearing but declined.
Other lawmakers, like Representative Ingrid Burnett (City of D-Kansas) wanted to know if the General Assembly passed the legislation, how it would affect the education system.
“If we were to completely ban the use of critical race theory as a framework, wouldn’t that make these concepts difficult to teach?” Burnett asked Harris.
“Any kind of law that puts a ban on or says what you can or cannot teach puts teachers in a position where they feel uncomfortable discussing certain things,” says Harris.
During the press conference after the hearing, Aid Institute Minority Leader Richard Brown (City of D-Kansas) told reporters what was said Monday in the committee was misleading and some of the that number is “untrue.”
DESE said it normally does not collect data on the curriculum that local school districts teach but is currently surveying them to ask if they are using Critical Race Theory and, if so, at What classes and how.
The committee plans to hold another hearing in the future but has not set a date.
https://fox4kc.com/news/lawmakers-hear-testimony-in-favor-of-banning-critical-race-theory-in-missouri-schools/ | Missouri lawmakers hear testimony in favor of banning key race theory