Keeping Race Out of the Classroom
There’s been a lot of discussion in recent months about what children are being exposed to in our public schools. Much of this discussion has focused on something loosely described as “critical race theory,” which seeks to reframe U.S. history from the perspective of race. I do not believe this is an appropriate way to teach our nation’s history. This week in the Missouri Senate I presented Senate Bill 676 to the Education Committee. My legislation simply states it shall be the policy of the State Board of Education not to promote or allow divisive concepts in public school curricula or instruction.
My legislation provides 11 specific examples of “divisive concepts” that would not be allowed if the bill becomes law. Among those concepts are the notion that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, that the United States is a fundamentally racist or sexist nation, or that an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive. The bill also states that children should not feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of their race or sex.
Senate Bill 676 is one of several legislative proposals before the General Assembly this year that seek to prevent agenda-driven lesson plans from indoctrinating our children into a new “woke” way of looking at the world. There’s a strong appetite in the Legislature to address this topic, and I believe it’s likely some form of legislation addressing critical race theory will make it to the governor’s desk before we adjourn in May.
In other activity this week, I had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Petra Dewitt, an associate professor of history and political science at Missouri S&T University, and Erin Whitson, a historical archaeologist with the Missouri Humanities Council, who updated me on a grant program that may be of interest to nonprofit organizations in my Senate district. The Missouri Humanities Council will consider any proposal to support humanities-based projects or programs submitted by a civic, educational and cultural organization. Examples of programs that have received funding in the past include interpretive exhibits, theater productions, teacher’s workshops, panel discussions and web-based presentations. Grants require an in-kind or matching contribution and fall into two general categories: mini grants of less than $2,500, and major grants of up to $10,000. Additional information can be found at the Missouri Humanities Council’s website at mohumanities.org/grants.
It was also my pleasure to welcome a number of visitors from the district this week. Among the constituents stopping by my Capitol office were a group from Bagnell Dam Realtors, members of the Missouri Farm Bureau organization and a delegation representing Easter Seals. If you’re planning a visit to the Missouri State Capitol, I encourage you to stop by room 420 and say hello. I always like meeting people from the district and hearing what they think about issues before the Missouri Legislature.
It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.