ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Members of the Georgia Board of Education voted 11-2 to pass a resolution, joining several states and school systems looking to ban teaching on race. "It is not the adoption of a board rule. It is the adoption of a resolution," said Board Chairman Scott Sweeney. This is in response to Governor Brian Kemp's letter urging the board to keep Critical Race Theory out of Georgia's curriculums.
Board members Leonte Benton and Kenneth Mason voted against the resolution, saying the board should have discussed it first. "The statement, when I read it, made me feel like I didn't belong, because it excused the existence of racism," said Mason. Those supporting the resolution say Critical Race Theory is divisive. "We are respecting equality. That means treating people like you'd like to be treated," said Board Member Helen Rice.
Columbia University Law Professor Kendall Thomas co-wrote a book called Critical Race Theory: Key Writings That Formed the Movement (1995). "Critical Race Theory is not about division or divisiveness. It's about democracy," he said. Thomas works with Kimberle Crenshaw, who founded the theory. "It's about the systemic and structural harms of color blind racism, which is the face of racism in so much of America today." He has his own theory about those who oppose it. "The folks behind the attacks on Critical Race Theory know that if they can stoke racial fear and district, they can prevent the emergence of the diverse, multi-generational, multi-racial movement," he said, referring to last year's movements that formed following the killings of George Floyd and others.
A 2019 U.S. Census Report shows Georgia ranks 34th in the country in public education funding, which is close to $2,000 per student below the national average. Thomas says that should be the focus. "This is just a diversionary tactic whose central purpose is to deflect attention away from the failure of the governing bodies who control funding of public education in Georgia," he said.
Now that the resolution was passed, Chairman Sweeney mentioned the board will have conversations on what types of rules to consider.
Kemp's office issued this press release in response to the board passing the resolution:
Governor Brian P. Kemp applauded members of the State Board of Education for voting earlier today to express their opposition to teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Georgia's K-12 classrooms. The board vote followed a letter from Governor Kemp in May urging swift action.
I applaud the members of the State Board of Education for making it clear this dangerous, anti-American ideology has no place in Georgia classrooms," said Gov. Kemp. "With their vote today, state school board members have ensured education in the Peach State will reflect the freedom, equality, and God-given potential of each individual.
Today, the State Board of Education took action regarding Critical Race Theory in Georgia's public schools," said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. "My commitment is to continue uniting communities, families, and educators as we ensure that every child, from every zip code, will receive a great education and have the ability to access and gain opportunities to accomplish anything.
Today, the State Board of Education adopted a resolution affirming it will work to prevent the promotion of any divisive ideologies based on race or sex from being incorporated into Georgia's K-12 public education standards," said State Board of Education Chairman Scott Sweeney. "As the state board, we will continue to be focused on educating students rather than indoctrinating students. All teachers, administrators, other employees, and students involved in Georgia education should consistently be treated as individuals endowed with equal, inalienable rights – without respect to race or sex. We will work collaboratively in our relentless commitment to put Georgia's students first.
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