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NCGOP Pushing Bill That Would Require Students to Learn Whitewashed Version of History

Source: NC Newsline

A recent editorial posted to NC Newsline and written by N.C. State University sociology professor Michael Schwalbe takes a look at House Bill 187 (“Equality in Education”) and asks the question: should legislators be allowed to keep knowledge from students because it might cause discomfort?

Schwalbe writes that “social scientists who study inequality agree that white people enjoy more favorable treatment, relative to Black people, in the labor market, schools, the health care system, and the courts,” and “if this pattern of advantage is well documented by solid research, should a group of non-expert legislators” be able to control what students learn about those facts, among other teachings that might cause “discomfort”?

The answer, if you ask most Republicans, is a resounding “yes,” but if you ask any reasonable person who is able to recognize that not everything that has happened in the history of our country is pleasant and uplifting, the answer is “no.”

The entire point of learning is to have preconceived ideas questioned and new information introduced for learners to think about and process. That information should be based on thorough research and careful study conducted by professionals. 

Republicans who are pushing HB 187 want students to only learn “the myths of one political party [that] would like to promote and advance its interests,” according to Schwalbe.

What HB 187 is truly about is power – the power for Republicans to dictate what history is taught to our children and how it’s taught.

The legislation would censor how North Carolina educators teach their students about 13 specific concepts, such as race and gender, and would silence Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ voices and stories in the classroom.

Instead of focusing on real problems facing North Carolina’s education system – such as underfunded schools, dilapidated buildings, and low teacher and staff salaries – Schwalbe writes that “these legislators are using schools to pursue a distracting culture war. The distraction, no surprise, is from the economic policies — tax cuts for corporations and the rich, deregulation of big business — that hurt middle- and working-class people.”

House Bill 187 has already passed the House – 68-49 along party lines – and is now under consideration in the Senate.

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