The Georgia Board of Education is the first state board to adopt a resolution to ban both the teaching of tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and “action” or “protest” civics in the state’s public schools.
CRT is a Marxist philosophy that embraces the concept that all social and cultural issues should be viewed through the lens of race.
“Action” or “protest” civics is an initiative that seeks to indoctrinate K-12 students into woke “action” political organizing, under the guise of restoring “unity.”
At the urging of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), the state board met Thursday and resolved, by a vote of 11-2, to prohibit the teaching of the tenets of CRT and the practice of requiring students to engage in political activism for coursework credit.
The resolution states, in part:
We, the State Board of Education for the State of Georgia:
- Believes the United States of America is not a racist country, and that the state of Georgia is not a racist state
- Affirms we will continue making decisions affecting K-12 public education based on the best interests of all students regardless of their race or sex, and that our collective focus remains that of providing the highest quality education to every child in Georgia without political bias or political influence
- Affirms that Education in Georgia should reflect our fundamental values as a state and nation – freedom, equality, and the God-given potential of every individual
- Affirms that we will not support, or impart, any K-12 public education resources or standards which (i) indoctrinate students in social, or political, ideology or theory, or (ii) promote one race or sex above another
Kemp praised the state board in a statement:
I applaud the members of the State Board of Education for making it clear this dangerous, anti-American ideology has no place in Georgia classrooms. With their vote today, state school board members have ensured education in the Peach State will reflect the freedom, equality, and God-given potential of each individual.
I applaud the State Board of Education voting today to prevent Critical Race Theory (CRT) from being taught in our classrooms. This dangerous, anti-American ideology has no place in Georgia schools.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) June 3, 2021
Education policy analyst Stanley Kurtz, co-author with the National Association of Scholars of the model legislation Partisanship Out of Civics Act (POCA), wrote at National Review it is “no small matter” that Kemp asked the state board to act since Georgia’s legislature is currently not in session.
[I]t is entirely possible that one of the dangerous federal bills could pass before the Georgia legislature reconvenes in 2022 and acts to bar protest civics and CRT on its own. A federal grant with strings controlled by bad legislation, combined with Biden’s own pro-CRT priority criteria, could easily force protest civics and CRT on Georgia before its elected representatives have a chance to act. The latest move by the Georgia state Board of Education helps to prevent that, and it’s notable that the Georgia board’s resolution explicitly bars application for federal grants that encourage either protest civics or CRT.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s (AJC) headline about the state board’s vote read, “Georgia education board passes resolution to limit classroom discussions of race.”
Kurtz said the AJC “conveyed some misconceptions about the resolution by its opponents.”
“The resolution prevents teachers from asserting that students ought to feel guilty simply because of their race, a different and much clearer standard,” he explained (sic).
Kurtz added the resolution does not prohibit teachers or students from discussing the tenets of CRT, but it does bar teachers from “’inculcating’ a belief in concepts like racial superiority or collective guilt.”
“When carrying out their duties, K–12 teachers are rightly obligated by law to convey the approved curriculum,” he added. “To bar the inculcation of certain concepts is therefore not a violation of a teacher’s freedom of speech. On the contrary, it is well within the scope of discretion by states and school districts to bar teachers from instilling certain concepts.”
Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement:
Today, the State Board of Education took action regarding Critical Race Theory in Georgia’s public schools. My commitment is to continue uniting communities, families, and educators as we ensure that every child, from every zip code, will receive a great education and have the ability to access and gain opportunities to accomplish anything.
Texas recently passed the first measure in the country to prohibit both CRT and “action” or “protest” civics and sent it to Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
Texas has just passed the first law in the country to bar both Action Civics and the key elements of Critical Race Theory. https://t.co/6L8kRQQhCO
— National Association of Scholars (@NASorg) June 7, 2021
Georgia State Board of Education Chairman Scott Sweeny added:
Today, the State Board of Education adopted a resolution affirming it will work to prevent the promotion of any divisive ideologies based on race or sex from being incorporated into Georgia’s K-12 public education standards. As the state board, we will continue to be focused on educating students rather than indoctrinating students. All teachers, administrators, other employees, and students involved in Georgia education should consistently be treated as individuals endowed with equal, inalienable rights – without respect to race or sex. We will work collaboratively in our relentless commitment to put Georgia’s students first.
Kurtz wrote he hopes the Georgia board’s resolution “will inspire other states to follow suit, administratively, legislatively, or both.”
“Above all, states need to go beyond merely addressing CRT, by including a bar on protest civics as well,” he noted.