FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Legislature heard an at times heated debate on the teaching of critical race theory in Kentucky public schools on Tuesday.
It is an academic concept that has been around for over 40 years. Some say it’s a way to understand how American racism has shaped public policy, others say it’s divisive – pitting people of color against white people.
Republicans have pre-filed bills to keep CRT out of the classroom.
“CRT is simply identity Marxism – based purely on skin color,” said Republican Representative Matt Lockett of Nicholasville.
Lockett pushes one of the bills.
He said the CRT would make one group of students, the minorities, feel oppressed, while another group of children, the white students, would feel like the oppressors.
“You don’t close the success gaps or increase one segment of the population by destroying another,” Lockett said.
However, opponents have said CRT is not taught in Kentucky schools, but fairness is. They say it is a concept that is the key to inclusiveness.
“I urge Kentucky lawmakers not to follow these authoritarian footsteps,” said Jason Glass, Kentucky Education Commissioner.
“In our classrooms, we need our children to be prepared for a world that is going to be difficult and which is difficult,” said Senator Gerald Neal, (D) Louisville.
Opponents also said the bills were too broad. None of them directly mention the CRT.
“One of the tests to determine what is offensive in these bills is not based on facts but on feelings of ‘uneasiness, guilt, anguish,” Glass said.
Further meetings are scheduled for later this summer ahead of next year’s legislative session.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Much debate took place at the Interim Joint Education Committee on Tuesday morning as the topic of critical race theory was under discussion.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass provided His point of view the importance of giving all students an equitable education. In his comments, he said Critical Race Theory seeks to explain why racism still exists. Mainly used in universities, the theory is believed to provide a framework for the possible causes and effects of societal racism and how they might be mitigated.
According to Glass, decisions about curriculum and classroom resources are left to the school’s decision-making boards. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) sets the Kentucky Academic Standards alongside teachers. Currently, KDE says it is not aware of any districts or teachers using the theory and that it does not appear in Kentucky Academic Standards.
Jefferson County Public School Superintendent Marty Pollio supported Glass’s reflections on critical race theory.
“We have to give our students the world and let them determine their path,” Pollio said. “With the support of KDE and the Kentucky Board of Education, I think we have the opportunity to be a real leader in this work in Jefferson County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
When asked if there should be transparency in the development of the curriculum, Hebron Middle School principal Kelland Garland said it already exists.
Another topic discussed by Glass was KDE’s emphasis on fairness and the difference between that and critical race theory.
“Equity in education is fundamentally an effort to ensure that all of our students get the support they need to meet our academic standards and reach their full potential as students, citizens and human beings,” said Glass. “An equity-focused approach in education recognizes that public school students come to us with a variety of backgrounds, needs, supports and experiences and that we must take this into account when we consider the education of every child. “
KDE has developed an optional “equity toolkit” for schools and districts. The toolkit includes:
- An equity dashboard, where the results differences between several different subgroups of students; and
- An Equity Handbook, which includes five strategic actions that a school or district can take to improve equity, such as ensuring that all students have access to high-quality educational resources, educational practices based on evidence and high quality teachers.
KDE is also looking to increase and retain more minority educators as part of a larger effort called GoTeachKY.
Fayette County Representative Killiam Timoney also provided his perspective on the difference between equality and fairness. The former Fayette County educator illustrated a real-world example of the concept, saying that an emergency doctor giving each patient a bandage would be equality.
“Fairness would be figuring out what you need and providing it to you in order to reach the finish line, which would allow you to regain full health,” said representative Timoney.
We also discussed the bill of Invoice request (BR) 60 and BR 69 which aim to define what can and cannot be taught or discussed, formally or informally, in Kentucky public schools in relation to a variety of concepts that include race and other controversial topics.
Glass explained that instead of banning critical race theory, the General Assembly should consider legislation that forces these conversations to have balanced perspectives and “does not censor classroom discussions or threaten public educators. “.
“I urge Kentucky lawmakers not just to follow in these authoritarian footsteps and pass this disturbing legislation, but rather to take a better approach – one that is in keeping with our values as Kentuckians and Americans, and not lowering them. not, ”Glass said.
Several committee members called the bill “vague” and advised the sponsors of the bill to work on providing clearer legislation.