Our coalition supports the widely accepted belief by scholars and academicians that a comprehensive curriculum should be integrated into all US History classes, so that it more accurately reflects how Kentuckians view our common past. This includes accurate teaching of US history from a BIPOC and LGTBQ+ perspective, not the current whitewashed history filled with tall tales that turn villains, slave owners, murderers and rapists into historical figures to be revered.
Critics, who are mostly white, and affiliated with single out Critical Race Theory (CRT) as their antagonist, claiming it is “divisive” and “teaches hate.” These arguments are not only inaccurate, but disingenuous, as the conversation often deteriorates into attacks on many school districts’ efforts to bring equity, diversity and inclusion into the forefront. At a recent Oldham County School Board Meeting, one of the guest speakers went so far as to suggest that she was opposed to teaching “kindness,” implying it was a code word for CRT.
While many educational leaders will point to the fact that CRT is not even taught in Kentucky’s public schools, making this legislation moot, our group feels that the recent backlash demonstrates an urgent need for more, not less, focus on accurate history and racial equity at age-appropriate levels. Although it is not currently taught, we believe these examples demonstrate why it should be.
Unfortunately, two bills (BR 60 and BR69), which contain much of the same rhetoric and misinformation , have been pre-filed for the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly. As this article in Ed Week, Map Where Critical Race Theory is Under Attack shows, similar legislation has been sweeping across Republican dominated legislatures nation-wide. These bills are not only misinformed and misguided, they continue to derail critical discussions on the real issues impacting our public schools, students and educators.
Our coalition strongly urges the withdrawal of these bill requests and an immediate moratorium on any efforts to further tie the hands of educators and district leaders who have urgent and critical work to do to narrow achievement gaps and meet our most vulnerable students where they are.
Please sign our letter of support here.