by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Friday banning the teaching of critical race theory in public schools and universities.
“Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us closer together – not rip us apart. As governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans by their race or sex,” Stitt, a Republican, said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The measure prohibits schools from teaching students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another” and that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.”
The legislation passed through both GOP-controlled chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature. Democratic lawmakers largely opposed the bill, with some arguing it sought to mend nonexistent problems in the state’s education system. …
… The bill proposed by state Rep. Kevin West and state Sen. David Bullard is similar to legislation that has passed in several other GOP-led legislatures around the nation and also bans public universities from engaging students “in any form of mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling,” although voluntary counseling is still permitted.
The signing of the measure comes just over a week after state lawmakers discussed societal inequalities and racism throughout history as they debated the bill.
West said HB 1775 is an anti-discriminatory measure aimed at keeping schools from teaching racial stereotypes and “Critical Race Theory,” adding that the curriculum is based on Marxist ideology that is designed to teach students to hate American exceptionalism, according to a statement.
“This bill will in no way stop the teaching of history or anything currently in our Oklahoma education standards, including curriculum that shows historical examples of racism or genocide,” West said.