North Dakota bans CRT in K-12 schools, requiring only factual and objective curriculum

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North Dakota has become the latest state to ban the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools after a law was passed requiring that teachers rely only on factual and objective curriculum.

Quick Facts

Gov. Doug Burgum, R, signed the bill into law after it passed the North Dakota House 76-16 and the Senate 38-9. State Sen. Donald Schaible, R, said, “The bill is more preemptive to try to make sure that it doesn’t come to our schools.”

Burgum said, “This bill addresses the concerns of parents while preserving the decision-making authority of local school boards to approve curriculum that is factual, objective and aligned with state content standards.”

The legislation says,

“Each school district and public school shall ensure instruction of its curriculum is factual, objective, and aligned to the kindergarten through grade twelve state content standards. A school district or public school may not include instruction relating to critical race theory in any portion of the district’s required curriculum under sections 15.1-21-01 or 15.1-21-02, or any other curriculum offered by the district or school.”

The law defines Critical Race Theory as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality.”

Some were upset by the passing of the bill including Sen. Erin Oban, D, who said, “(Critical Race Theory) is a red herring. It’s the definition of culture wars, which most of us claim to hate, and it makes a mockery of our Century Code when we’re willing to just let stuff in there because it’s easier than having difficult conversations.”

The ACLU of North Dakota said the ban would “undoubtedly censor discussions about race in schools, severely chill the speech of school employees, and deny young people the right to receive an equitable education.”

They added, “Using legislation like HB 1508 to prevent discussion about race and racism is an affront to free speech.”

Schaible responded to such criticisms by saying, “It should have no effect on anything that is true and proven. We want to teach what we know to be true and to go through all this stuff without bringing theories and, you know, suggestions of other things.”

For something that is a red herring and isn’t being taught in schools, the left gets very defensive of Critical Race Theory. Many claim that the ideology is not even taught in public schools, only at the college level. If that is true, why does it matter if it is banned in K-12 schools? The ACLU of North Dakota says the law prevents discussions about race, but it does no such thing. Teachers may teach about race, so long as their lessons are fact-based and not based on theories and ideologies that have nothing to do with basic and effective pedagogy.