Senate committee approves bill keeping critical race theory out of Michigan classrooms

LANSING, Mich. —  The Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would ban the use of so-called “critical race theory” and its derivatives from Michigan’s K-12 curriculum.

“Critical race theory threatens Michigan’s K-12 students with a dangerous false narrative about our country and its place in the world,” said Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who chairs the committee. “It is an extreme political agenda that is manipulating academia and now targets private businesses, public institutions and, sadly, our K-12 classrooms. Our schools should be teaching students our country’s real history, including its faults and flaws, but especially this nation’s founding principles of individual freedom, liberty and equality that so many have given their lives to defend. Critical race theory is an affront to everything our country stands for. Our children should be taught to respect each other equally because of their humanity, not to discriminate based on some identity group or race.”

Senate Bill 460 would prohibit local school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies from incorporating curriculum that includes critical race theory, the 1619 project, or any similar approaches that manipulate history or promote anti-American theories.

The State Department of Education would be required to annually verify districts are not doing so, and those districts found in violation would lose 5% of their state and federal funding. Additionally, the department would be required to submit a report to the House and Senate education committees every year detailing any district that violated the law.

Attempts to incorporate critical race theory into school curricula are spreading across the country. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting released lesson plans and reading guides that have brought the 1619 Project narrative into more than 3,500 classrooms across the country.

In some cases, this agenda is being pushed without parent input or through a transparent process. In recent months, the National Education Association and State Superintendent Michael Rice have advanced critical race theory, if not directly by name, Theis said.

Theis cited Rice’s recent letter to the State Board of Education and recent NEA Teacher Quality Webinars, during which participants received training on “dismantling the structures, policies and implicit biases that prop up white privilege,” and on “confronting white nationalism in the classroom.”

“From the halls of colleges and universities to corporate America and now, in our children’s classrooms, critical race theory is spreading a damaging false narrative of our country and its history,” Theis said. “It must be stopped, and my bill will make sure it’s kept out of our classrooms.”

SB 460 now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

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