Georgia education board passes resolution to block critical race theory

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“It is ridiculous!” Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, a teacher, says about the state’s move to limit critical race theory teachings in classrooms

The Georgia State Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday against teaching critical race theory in classrooms.

This decision is drawing both condemnation and support from Georgians.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp commended the 11-2 vote by the majority-white board, which is filled with governor appointees. With the resolution, the board opposes teaching the concept in the state’s K-12 classrooms, per a press release from the governor’s office.

North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia as it is seen on Aug. 10, 2020. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia as it is seen on Aug. 10, 2020. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

“I applaud the members of the State Board of Education for making it clear this dangerous, anti-American ideology has no place in Georgia classrooms,” Kemp said in the statement. “With their vote today, state school board members have ensured education in the Peach State will reflect the freedom, equality, and God-given potential of each individual.”

This comes shortly after Kemp wrote a letter to the Board of Education urging them to take action.

However, concerned community members believe this resolution will not reflect equality.

One Twitter user and history educator, Sharon Sample, voiced her disappointment on the social media site, saying “If history makes you uncomfortable, as it should in many cases, it should inspire change NOT denial or erasure.”

Grassroots organizations across Georgia are taking action and speaking out against the decision to limit what educators can teach about history and its implications within schools. Some of those organizations include Voice of The People and CivicGeorgia, among many others.

Georgia teachers like Alfred “Shivy” Brooks facilitated dialogues around critical race theory and Georgia’s efforts to prohibit conversations around race.

“So y’all mean to tell me that one calendar year after doing all this listening and learning, what you listened and learned and realized that you have to do is what: start implementing policies to stop talking about race, racism and oppression?” Brooks said on his Instagram live. “It is ridiculous, it is absolutely ridiculous!”

Organizers from CivicGeorgia created a petition calling on the state’s education board to immediately reverse their “unacceptable” decision.

The petition reads, in part, “Teaching critical race theory (CRT) and acknowledging the past and present racial traumas in American society, especially given our state’s role, are necessary to build awareness, understand and address major societal & systemic challenges faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, and heal intergenerational trauma.”

Kevin Shanker Sinha, a community organizer and founder of CivicGeorgia, criticized the Georgia State Board of Education’s actions, comparing it to the voter suppression tactics in the Georgia State Legislature.

“Just as with the voter suppression bill in Georgia earlier this year, we are heartbroken that yet again BIPOC voices and stories are being silenced and rewritten by elected & appointed state officials,” Sinha told theGrio. “With this petition, we are demanding that Georgia’s State Board of Education reverse this unacceptable resolution, and we call on them to center impacted & informed voices — meaning families, parents, and students of color, as well as pedagogical experts and practitioners in critical race theory — in determining what is taught in our schools.”

The petition is being shared widely and people across the country are speaking out against Georgia officials looking to “whitewash” history.

“I am signing this petition because children need a safe place to talk about racism, inequality, and white privileged,” someone commented under the petition. “Children do NOT need to be shielded from these topics. We want our kids having resources their parents didn’t have create communities without inequality and White privilege. We can’t take away these discussions!!”

Meanwhile, conservative officials and Georgians across the state continue to express their support for the new resolution.

“Today, the State Board of Education took action regarding Critical Race Theory in Georgia’s public schools,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement from the governor’s office. “My commitment is to continue uniting communities, families, and educators as we ensure that every child, from every zip code, will receive a great education and have the ability to access and gain opportunities to accomplish anything.”

State Board of Education Chairman Scott Sweeney emphasized that they will work to prevent the promotion of any divisive ideologies based on race or sex, per the release.

“As the state board, we will continue to be focused on educating students rather than indoctrinating students,” Sweeney said in the statement. “All teachers, administrators, other employees, and students involved in Georgia education should consistently be treated as individuals endowed with equal, inalienable rights — without respect to race or sex. We will work collaboratively in our relentless commitment to put Georgia’s students first.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution defines critical race theory as “an academic concept based on the idea that racism is a social construct that is embedded in all aspects of our lives, including in legal systems and policies.”

Other states across the nation, including Texas, are also taking measures to ban critical race theory from being taught in schools.

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