Alabama schools official reports complaints of Black History Month as teaching critical race theory
An Alabama schools official on Wednesday told lawmakers preparing to take up bills associated with critical race theory (CRT) that state residents are confused as to what the theory actually means.
Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey told members of the state House Education Policy Committee that people have voiced complaints about CRT teachings in schools, but investigations from state officials that follow found no evidence of such lessons, according to AL.com.
“I had two calls in the last week that they’re having a Black History Month program and they consider having a Black history program CRT,” Mackey said. “Having a Black history program is not CRT.”
”There are people out there who don’t understand what CRT is. And so in their misunderstanding of it, they make a report but it’s not actually CRT,” he added.
CRT, which is a graduate-level legal theory says that American racism is structural and embedded in various social institutions ranging from criminal justice to health care and education, has become the center of nationwide debate.
“I can tell you what’s in the state curriculum,” Mackey said. “I can tell you what’s in our textbooks, and CRT is not in there.”
Republican state Rep. Terri Collins, who chairs the panel, asked that Democratic and Republican members bring someone who can discuss what critical race theory is, AL.com reported.
“My goal in this conversation was that my education policy committee and anybody that wanted to join were able to come and hear maybe different sides of an issue,” Collins said, according to the site.
Meanwhile, another Republican state representative, Ed Oliver, has filed a bill, known as HB9, to ban divisive concepts from being used as part of trainings from state agencies and contractors. Though Oliver asserted that CRT was being taught in the state’s classroom, he did not provide specific examples of such teachings, AL.com reported.
In neighboring Mississippi, every Black state senator walked out of the state’s upper chamber last month in protest of a bill that was passed into law banning the teaching of CRT in public schools, as well as public colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, in Florida, a state Senate committee advanced a bill to prevent white people feeling “discomfort” when taught or trained about past discrimination in public schools and private businesses.
“We shouldn’t be teaching students, for example in a diverse classroom, that someone is automatically racist or sexist or anti-immigrant by the sheer nature of their background,” Florida state Sen. Manny Diaz (R) said to the Senate Education Committee at the time.