Missouri Republicans debated this week over a ‘pparent’s bill of rightsto ban critical race theory in K-12 education.
The two bills a Republican supermajority is proposing include HB 1474 and H.B. 1995. The bills establish a process parents to review the curriculum and formally oppose the teaching of specific subjects in public schools.
Missouri House Bill 1774 prohibits any teaching of critical race theory, specifically including the Pulitzer Prize winner Project 1619 from the New York Times. The bill also prohibits the teaching of education programs like TLearning Tolerance (Learning for Justice) and We Stories—a St. Louis-based guided conversations program on the running program.
Deranged Uncles in the Missouri Legislature are trying to force school districts to let parents know five days in advance if a hot or controversial subject is going to be taught. Notification allows parents to shield their child from such objectionable teachings, including health education relating to human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.
The provisions of HB 1995 add some bite to these tu-shalt-nots.
The state is seeking to set up a narc line for parents to send objections to the school district and Missouri DESE. If a school district is found in violation of any of these prohibitions, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 may be imposed. Fine money is to be split between the parent who raised the objection (20%) and the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Fund (80%), which is a 501(c)(3) set up to advocate for the privatization of education.
Isn’t that nice? A snitch bounty for outraged Karens!
The bills are expected to merge, and given the makeup of the Missouri General Assembly — 138 of MO’s 195 lawmakers are conservative — the bills will likely become law.
For their part, the Democrats of Missouri are in crisis of nerves.
State Rep. Ian Mackey said a parent could object to facts verified under the law in question, including the existence of dinosaurs. State Representative Mark Sharp said a purge of classroom curricula and textbooks is the type of government censorship seen in authoritarian societies.
“Do we really want Missouri to join other countries like China, Russia, and North Korea who are too scared to tell people the real story of their nation? said Sharp, a former teacher. “I don’t want my daughter to grow up in an America where photos of police hosing down black protesters in Birmingham are hidden like Beijing hides photos of the Tiananmen Square massacre.”
Missouri Republicans say they are relaxing; No reason to worry.
State Representative Nick Schroer believes the bill he has proposed is intended to build trust between parents and educators.
“What we can do, and I think what schools should do, is teach the whole story and nothing but that,” Schroer says. “Not fairy tale versions, not politically biased versions of history.”
It has been repeatedly reported that Critical Race Theory is not taught in Missouri K-12 schools. Governor Mike Parsons told the Missouri Time in July that “Missouri teaches diversity, equity and inclusion”, not CRT.