MADISON, Wisconsin – A bill to keep the lessons of systemic racism and implicit prejudice out of Wisconsin classrooms was passed by the state assembly on Tuesday in a 60-38 vote.
The bills prohibit teaching racial or gender stereotypes in K-12 schools. Nowhere in the legislation will you find the expression “critical race theory” used. However, Republican authors admit that it is intended to keep this concept out of the classroom.
What is Critical Race Theory?
There is much debate about how to define Critical Race Theory, a decades-old framework developed by jurists. In general, it is the idea that there are institutions in the United States that are inherently racist and thus perpetuate racial inequalities.
“It is simply a way to discover the ways in which our society has structured racial equality in its practices and political priorities,” said Professor Luke Charles Harris, co-founder of the African American Policy Forum. âCritical race theorists start from the fact that you know, look, people have different lived experiences over the centuries, and you have to take that into account as you move forward to become a truly inclusive political culture. “
The debate on racial theory
After nearly a decade in the classroom, and many of those years spent teaching the social sciences, State Representative LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee) said one should be in a postgraduate or graduate class. right to find a critical theory of race.
âIt goes so far beyond K-12 education, like I said, it doesn’t happen in our schools,â Myers said.
However, Marc Renault, father of two, disagrees.
âThey don’t teach legal theory, obviously, but they bring in the ideas that have come out of critical race theory, this racial essentialism and try to bring it into all classes,â Renault said.
Renault had a third and seventh grade in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area school district last year.
“Our youngest learned that his race determines his behavioral qualities,” said Renault. âIt was part of a third year geography assignment. For me, that was not in the mission at all.
Renault also said his elder son received a lesson on how to be an activist as part of an English class. This year, the two children were therefore enrolled in an online program offered by the McFarland School District.
âHumanity has such a horrible history when you separate people into groups, talk about incoming and outgoing groups and pit them against each other,â Renault said. âI mean the 20th century has stories about stories of why you shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t know why we want to introduce this in schools.
Representative Myers, however, also doesn’t want a perfectly clean version of the past.
âWhen you try to crouch down, and you know, chop the story into pieces and tell it in a faked way, I guess if you want to, or sort of cleanse the reality, I think you lose a part of the context. Myers said. âYou lose part of the goal.
As to the purpose of the legislation, Myers is not convinced.
âIt’s meat for the base,â Myers said. “They know these bills will be vetoed by the governor.”
The legislation has yet to be passed by the Senate, before being submitted to Governor Tony Evers for review. Evers, a Democrat and former state superintendent of schools, is expected to veto the bills.