District 36 Senator Matt Williams has voiced his concerns surrounding the topic of Critical Race Theory and its implementation in schools. In his latest column, Williams expresses concern that Critical Race Theory (CRT) focuses on the differences of people and is divisive instead of celebrating the ‘diversity in our state and nation.’
Recently other state senators have taken a stand against CRT including Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard. Erdman stated that he believes CRT goes “completely off the rails” when trying to correct racism that has played an unfortunate, but significant role in American history.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has also said he is opposed to teaching CRT in Nebraska schools. According to Education Weekly, as of June 29, 26 states have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching CRT or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism. Nebraska does not currently have any legislation on teaching restrictions.
In his letter, Williams states that schools ‘should not be used as a forum to indoctrinate political views, but instead should provide the opportunity for students to learn and develop critical thinking techniques.’ He concluded by saying he trusts local school boards to find the proper balance.
Read Sen. Matt Williams entire column below:
Greetings District 36. Over the past several months there has been a great deal of discussion concerning an academic theory proposed over 50 years ago called Critical Race Theory. This discussion is important and schools, educators, and parents need to be engaged and informed about Critical Race Theory just as we do with any number of controversial issues that will always come up.
Critical Race Theory was first developed following the civil rights movement in the early 1970’s. It is a framework for a legal analysis that argues the civil rights movement, although successful on many fronts, did not go far enough in eliminating racial prejudice in society. Proponents of the theory suggest that our existing judicial, legal, and economic systems perpetuate instead of counter racism. They suggest we need to emphasize the notion that our governmental institutions treat people differently based on race.
I think that because critical race theory focuses on our differences, it is inherently divisive and flawed. To me, it is a philosophy that fails to celebrate the diversity in our state and nation. I believe our diversity should be viewed as a strength and should be embraced. It is from this strength that we have found success in building our communities and growing our state’s economy.
Every day we put labels on people. White-black, male-female, Protestant-Catholic, Republican-Democrat. Even though we come from all walks of life, including different backgrounds, we have a great deal more in common than we have as differences. It seems to me that when we spend time focusing on our differences, those differences become what divide and define us. It keeps us focused on the negative rather than working together on shared positive goals.
I’m very concerned about incorporating CRT into our education system for the very reason that it tends to emphasize our differences rather than embrace our areas of commonality. A better course is to recognize the strides we have made in overcoming racism, keeping in mind there is always more that can be done to bring opportunities to everyone.
Our school systems should not be used as a forum to indoctrinate political views. Our schools should however provide the opportunity for students to learn and develop critical thinking techniques. “Teaching vs. Indoctrinating” can be a fine line. I trust our locally elected school boards to find the proper balance.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime at (402) 471-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for your continued support.