FAQ: What we’ve learned about teaching since Oklahoma’s so-called ban on critical racial theory goes into effect


  • Robbie Coase

There’s a lot of confusion about what can and can’t be taught in Oklahoma classrooms all over the country. and fear.Teachers across the state have described the fear, with one teacher in Norman even Resign on the bill.

That’s why StateImpact Oklahoma is putting together this FAQ guide on what teaching has been like since the so-called ban on critical race theory (HB 1775) passed. Below we answer questions about essential parts of the act and fact-check some common misconceptions about the legislative impact.

The answers were gleaned from reports from StateImpact, other news organizations, and answers to questions sent to attorneys familiar with education law.

What is HB 1775?

House Bill 1775 It is a measure approved by Governor Kevin Stitt in May 2021. The controversial law essentially bans eight concepts in a variety of education-related spaces including curriculum and instructional materials; employee career development; and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

The eight forbidden concepts are those that teach:

  • One race or gender is inherently superior to another.
  • A person, because of their race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressor, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • Individuals shall be discriminated against or disadvantaged in whole or in part because of their race or sex.
  • Members of the same race or gender cannot and should not attempt to disrespect others [based on] race or gender.
  • A person’s moral character is determined by their race or gender.
  • Individuals are responsible for past actions committed by other members of the same race or gender because of their race or gender.
  • Anyone should experience discomfort, guilt, distress, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender.
  • Characteristics such as meritocracy or a hard-working ethic are racist or sexist, or created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.

Oklahoma State School Board Association Update guide What can or cannot be taught under each rule. It’s often called the Anti-CRT Act, although that’s a misnomer because the measure makes no reference to critical racial theory.

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical race theory is an academic concept that argues that race and racism are intertwined throughout American society.The theory was first applied to law schools, legal scholars Derrick Bell Often credited with coining the term.

“He makes an argument for the enduring role that racism and racial discrimination play in American institutional life, not just legal culture, but pervasive American culture as a whole,” said Clara Looper, Department of African and African American Studies Director Karlos Hill, tell StateImpact earlier this year.

But that definition seems to be lost in many local and national discussions on the subject. Instead, Hill said conservative lawmakers are using the debate to galvanize their base and win the election.

“This key racial genie, this artificial polarization is very effective at doing so, but it has long-term disastrous consequences,” Hill said.

Does HB 1775 forbid critical race theory?

Do not.

The bill doesn’t mention “critical race theory,” so why is the term so often used when talking about it?

CRT as a term has been used by right-wing pundits to talk about the concept of teaching children they deem dangerous.For example, in the first half of 2021, Fox News mentioned the term more than 1,800 broadcasts.

It’s often paired with words like “to embellish” or “to instill,” even if it’s not based on reality.

Do Oklahoma schools teach critical race theory?

Not what we know.

although two school districts was found to violate HB 1775, with no evidence that both were teaching critical race theory.

In a statement responding to StateImpact’s written questions, attorneys for the state Department of Education wrote that there are no documented cases where CRT is taught in Oklahoma K-12 classrooms. National standard No mention of the CRT.

What happens when HB 1775 is violated?

May 2022, Oklahoma State Board of Education – Appointed almost exclusively by the Governor – Passed permanent rule make these provisions.

This establishes a procedure to punish schools and/or teachers who violate accreditation-related laws. The rules make it clear that a school may have “accreditation deficiencies.”This means that the school will Oklahoma Department of Education Office of Accreditation to make up for the deficiency.

Teachers who are found to have “willfully violated” the law could have their teaching license revoked by the state board. If this happens, the educator will have the right to a hearing on the board with legal counsel.

But the revocation almost never happened. When it happened, it was reserved for heinous crimes.

For example, a handful of teachers had their licenses revoked following a hearing in May.

them Including teachers like the former Stillwater social studies teacher Alberto Morejon. Former Leader of Teachers Strike Morejon Sentenced . five years in prison Sexually indecent communication with minors.The other is former Harrah’s high school baseball coach Charles Copeland, who is defendant “Indecent and indecent conduct” with students. The third is Andy Lantz, a former Carnegie Public Schools special education teacher. defendant Rape of a 16-year-old student.

What exactly does “certification warning” mean?

In July, Tulsa and Mustang Public Schools were the first face the consequences Violation of HB 1775.

The Oklahoma Department of Education recommends accrediting these schools because they may violate the law.

When a region “fails to meet one or more standards”, it receives a certification warning. The lack severely reduces the quality of schools and education programs,” according to the state Department of Education.

There are four levels of certification. From the least to the most serious, they are: Deficient Recognition, Multiple Defect Recognition, Warning Recognition, and Recognition Probation.

The state Department of Education recommends certification for a deficiency in violation of HB 1775. However, the board decided to go a step further, by warning the certification of both regions.

“We need to get the message across,” board member Estela Hernandez said at the meeting.

But should schools really be worried about this information?

According to an interview with Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahomamaybe not.

“I support the school board. … You have to obey the law,” Stitt told the paper. “But it was a deal, what did (the board) do? They just gave them a warning, a paper on file, (saying) don’t do it again. It’s not the end of the world for these school districts.”

However, the school is concerned. Certification warnings are just one step below the certification trial period and can ultimately lead to the loss of state certification and thus state funding.Here’s why Tulsa and the Mustangs have pleading Reconsider their violations.

If I’m a teacher in Oklahoma, can I teach the book Killers of the Flower Moon by David Gran?

Teacher from Dewey, Oklahoma make headlines Because she decided not to teach the book Killer of the Flower Moon in her high school English class.

“As soon as this was over, I realized I was going to have my license cancelled for the House Act of 1775,” teacher Debra Thoreson told Oklahoma.

This book The story of a series of murders of members of the Osage Nation in the early 20th century who were killed by whites for their wealth.

Many other news stories have talked about books that might be banned, such as to kill a robin, I know why the caged bird sings and other.

But when asked about the gaps in teaching “Killer of the Flower Moon,” attorneys for the state Department of Education wrote that educators can still teach the book under state law.

The curriculum needs to avoid anything that says a particular student should feel sorry for the past behavior of someone who may be of the same race, writes Brandon CareyA staff attorney with OSSBA, he has served as legal counsel to Oklahoma City Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education’s Dallas Office of Civil Rights.

“It would not be against the law to teach the book from a historical perspective,” Carey wrote.


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