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· June 21, 2021

Innovation Ohio Condemns Bills to Ban Schools from Teaching “Divisive Concepts”

Today, Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio, released the following statement condemning two dangerous, broad-reaching bills (HB 327 and HB 322) that would ban Ohio schools and colleges from teaching “divisive concepts.”

“Republicans in Ohio’s Statehouse want you to believe that an academic concept — taught primarily in law schools and other institutions of higher learning — is a greater threat to our children’s education than systemic racism.

“More than a year into a global pandemic that has ravaged communities of color, we know this isn’t true. Unfortunately, Ohio Republicans don’t seem to care.

Vaguely written and extremely broad, recent Republican-sponsored bills targeting K-12 and college curriculum are merely part of the far-right’s attack on Critical Race Theory (CRT) -— or rather the false narrative they have used to define it.

CRT has been developed by Black legal scholars like Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw over the past 40 years, and is responsible for concepts such as intersectionality and systemic racism. It is an important tool for those seeking to not only identify but solve problems of racial injustice in this country.

“However, CRT is rarely, if ever, taught in K-12 classrooms. So why are Ohio Republicans wasting their time trying to ban it?

“There are strikingly similar bills in Statehouses across the country, because national extremist groups are feeding them to Republican politicians. These out-of-state lobbyists are trying to control our children’s education; they don’t want our kids to think critically about the world around them and develop the skills to improve it.

Republican attacks on our children’s right to a quality education coincide with their efforts to suppress voting rights and the right to peacefully protest. All out of new tricks, they serve as proof that when you fail to learn from history, you are bound to repeat it.

“But those of us eager to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion as a way of life can’t afford to repeat a history defined by oppression and hate — our children’s education will determine whether we do.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that Ohio children receive an honest education — one that exposes rather than hides our state and nation’s tragic yet triumphant history. They deserve to learn about Ohio’s own Carl Stokes, the first Black mayor of a major American city. Yet they also deserve to know why no major American city elected a Black mayor until 1967.

We must bravely acknowledge the role that systemic racism has played in our past and present, and empower our children to think critically about how they can uproot it. As Republicans seek to ban CRT, it is clear the time is ripe to do the opposite, and allow its many lessons to positively influence the next generation.

“We as Ohioans (and Americans) have confronted so much history together, but there is still so much to learn and work to do. Republicans’ pathetic attacks on K-12 and higher education must be stopped; our collective future depends on it.”

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Tagged in these Policy Areas: Democracy | Education | Higher Education | K-12 Education | Statehouse Update