(The Center Square) – School districts, teacher unions, student groups and parents have lined up at Ohio House to testify against two bills that would prevent schools from teaching what sponsors called out “division concepts” in the classroom.
The House State and Local Government Committee heard more than three hours of testimony Wednesday at the third hearing for the two Bill 322 and Bill 327. Each forbids teaching concepts that are part of the national movement critical of racial theory. Critics claim that the United States is a fundamentally racist country.
The theory centers on the idea that race is a social construct used to oppress people of color. It was developed by jurists in the late 1970s and 1980s and concludes that racism in America is systemic. Critical race theory gained new notoriety in response to Project 1619, a New York Times multimedia piece that links slavery to capitalism.
Opponents of the bill called the legislation censorship and dangerous.
âSchools should be a place of opportunity; places where students can learn to think critically, value each other’s experiences, and understand our past and present realities, âsaid Representative Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati. “These bills are moving Ohio in the wrong direction – back.”
Supporters have testified that promoting theory in public schools is a form of intimidation and undermines progress made within the civil rights movement.
“Let me leave no doubt: the pressure to teach such controversial concepts as those described in legislation does not solve the problem but rather creates an environment where learning and the search for the truth is lost”, Barry Sheets, legislative consultant for the Center for Christian Virtue, testified earlier this year.
Representative Don Jones, R-Freeport, introduced HB 322, which would ban critical race theory and civic action in the Ohio K-12 program. This would prevent any state agency, school district, or school from teaching or training anyone to adopt or believe in the concepts surrounding critical race theory.
Specifically, Jones’ Bill addresses concepts such as:
â¢ One race or gender being inherently superior to another;
â¢ An individual, by reason of race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
â¢ An individual must be discriminated against or receive unfavorable treatment solely or in part on the basis of their race;
â¢ The position or moral value of an individual is necessarily determined by the race or sex of the individual;
â¢ An individual, by reason of race or sex, bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
â¢ The advent of slavery in what is now the United States formed the true foundation of the United States; and
â¢ As far as their relationship to American values ââis concerned, slavery and racism are quite another thing than deviations, betrayals, or breaches of the genuine founding principles of the United States, which include freedom and equality.
Representative Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, introduced HB 327 in mid-June, saying the legislation aims to promote education, not indoctrination, by banning school districts, schools, teachers and teachers. state and local entities promote concepts of division.
The bill defines concepts of division as training or forcing someone to believe that they are better or worse than another person on the sole basis of the external characteristics of “nationality, race, color, ethnicity, religion or gender â, similarly described in the Civil Rights Act. from 1964.