LINCOLN, Neb. -- Last week, the Associated Press reported that state GOP lawmakers in at least 16 states are trying to limit the teaching of what has been dubbed “critical race theory” in classrooms. Across the nation, Republican governors and legislatures have moved to define what race-related ideas are and what they will allow to be taught in public schools as well as colleges.
While no such laws have been proposed yet in Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts unleashed his thoughts on the topic in a series of tweets this week.
“Critical race theory is an attack on our country’s core values,” Ricketts stated in one tweet.
“The American founding is based on the idea that ‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,’” he said in another.
The governor said that the race theory was created to pit Americans against each other rather than “building a more perfect union that promotes dignity of all Americans and respect for people of all backgrounds.”
Opponents of the proposed GOP-sponsored laws, or proponents of critical race theory, say they believe the legislation will have a negative effect on teachers and students in the classroom, giving students the nation’s history with a whitewashed version; along with concerns for how students and parents will react to the education they will be receiving.
“It creates a very chilling atmosphere of distrust, educators not being able to be the professionals they are not only hired to be but are trained to be,” said Lawrence Paska, a former middle school social studies teacher in New York and executive director of the council.
“Once we remove the option of teachers incorporating all parts of history, we’re basically silencing the voices of those who already feel oppressed,” said Lakeisha Patterson, a third-grade English and social studies teacher who lives in Houston and worries about a bill under consideration in Texas.
According to Britannica Encyclopedia, critical race theory is an “intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour.” It is also stated by critical race theorists that law and legal institutions in the US are inherently racist, functioning to create inequalities amongst whites and nonwhites.