Education expert says NC ‘critical race theory’ ban a template for avoiding censorship

The author of a new report analyzing state legislation aimed at banning divisive and controversial critical race theory curriculum believes legislatures ought to adopt North Carolina’s measure because it bars the materials while also avoiding censorship.

Max Eden of the American Enterprise Institute said in his report that three approaches are being taken by state legislatures seeking to limit or bar public school students’ exposure to CRT, noting that measures that ban the promotion of the theory are ideal.

CRT pushes the belief that America’s founding institutions and culture are systemically and fundamentally racist and that they work to actively oppress minorities. CRT advocates say that in order to be opposed to the perceived systemic racism, a person has to adopt an “anti-racist” ideology.

Critics of CRT claim it is vehemently anti-white, divisive, and inherently wrong, and parents who oppose it have increasingly made their objections known over the past year at school board meetings, many of which became heated, and some of which have resulted in arrests.

By comparison, left-wing activists and others have said that the theory isn’t taught in public schools, but there is a growing body of evidence proving otherwise. The issue was so polarizing in Virginia that opposition to it in public schools likely handed Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin the first GOP gubernatorial victory in the state in more than a decade after he championed efforts to keep CRT out of schools.

In his report, Eden explained that thus far, state legislatures have tried to ban “compulsion,” “inclusion,” or “promotion,” adding that the latter approach was taken by the North Carolina legislature as lawmakers sought to bar the theory while noting it is the best method to follow.

Banning the promotion of CRT prohibits school districts even from adding the curriculum to teacher training programs or from contracting with consultants and speakers who add the theory to their program materials.

“This approach encompasses the prohibition against compulsion,” Eden wrote. “But most importantly, it threads the needle of preventing the politicization of the classroom without presenting any barrier to honest and accurate classroom instruction.”

While versions of CRT bans have already passed in other states, the effort failed in North Carolina because the measure was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Eden clearly noted in his report that he believes the theory ought to be banned but he pushed back on columnist David French who has argued that CRT would effectively be banned if the federal government enforced existing civil rights statutes.

“Until such time as the federal government signals that it will faithfully enforce the Civil Rights Act, states have a constitutional duty to act,” Eden noted.

“The state surely has an interest in assuring that the next generation is not educated in state-run schools to oppose the foundational principles of the state,” he added. “The state has an even higher obligation to act on behalf of the parents whose children it educates.

“CRT-inspired pedagogy at times aims to subvert the family itself, teaching ideas such as ‘it [is] important to disrupt the Western nuclear family dynamics as the best/proper way to have a family,'” he wrote.

Jon Dougherty


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