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House Education Committee Hears Bill to Censor Race Discussion in Classrooms

Source:  Editorial Staff, WRAL

The state House Education committee held a hearing on House Bill 187 this week, a bill that would ban K-12 schools from teaching about systemic racism.

The bill, sponsored by the House Education chairman, Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston), was previously filed in 2021, when it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

HB 187 is the latest move by Republicans this session to take control over what happens in the classroom. Earlier this year, Republicans introduced a bill that advocates say will ostracize LGBTQ students and health experts testified will “make our children less safe.” And last month, Republicans asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling on the Leandro case, which required greater investments in public education.

Since January 2021, 44 states have introduced legislation or taken steps to limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom according to Education Week

In the committee hearing Tuesday, Rep. Marcia Morey warned that the bill could have a “chilling effect” on teachers and students by creating “ambiguity of what can and cannot be taught and discussed.”

Morey said, “Much of our history is race-related. And teaching and learning about lynchings and slavery and the effects of Jim Crow laws will make students uncomfortable, but it’s a sound basic education, it’s a full discussion of facts, of racism, in American history.”

Notably, the state’s largest teacher’s organization, the North Carolina Association of Educators, opposes HB 187. In a statement, NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly said the bill is an attempt to limit the “honest and sometimes uncomfortable teaching of history.”

“Instead of focusing on supporting public schools with resources and making plans to alleviate the educator shortage, lawmakers have brought back this bill,” Kelly said.

The bill will now advance to the House Rules Committee.

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