Inspired by Critical Race Theory, Race Education Laws Catch National, Statewide Attention | News, Sports, Jobs
The conservative campaign to ban “Critical theory of race” in education has made its way into state homes this month, with some lawmakers now seeking to ban entire concepts in state offices, schools and public universities.
A bill from Representative Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, gained attention earlier this month, with dozens of lawmakers signing on as cosponsors.
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in a note to colleagues, Diamond said the bill would ban racist or sexist education – but its text could effectively ban many broader discussions in classrooms.
A provision, for example, would prohibit teaching that “An individual, by reason of race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. “
It goes to the heart of the critical debate over racial theory, which launched a conservative crusade after years of Black Lives Matter activism and protests against police murders. For decades, academics identified with the theory have discussed how historical or institutional racism can affect individual culture and attitudes, even when individuals themselves do not realize it.
As lawmakers like Diamond define, it’s a little different from an explicitly racist point of view.
“Our schools should teach that every individual is equal before the law and that no individual should ever be called superior or inferior simply because of their race or genetic makeup, nor be held responsible for the actions taken by them. ‘others with similar traits “, he said.
Some colleagues agree: Cosponsors include Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Lycoming, and Rep. Tommy Sankey, R-Clearfield.
In recent weeks, parents across the country have packed school board meetings to complain about the theory. Conservative media figures have lambasted academics, while educators have been questioned publicly and privately about their programs.
Other states have already passed bans, some with wording almost identical to Diamond’s proposal.
The governor of Texas this week enacted a bill that would ban many racial discussions in classrooms, despite protests from teachers and concerns that would be difficult to interpret. The legislator who proposed the bill said: “We don’t need to blame our children for racial crimes they had nothing to do with” according to the Dallas Morning News.
Opponents have warned of a chilling effect on educators as restrictions pass in more states. Under the Diamond Bill, the state attorney general would investigate those accused of teaching unacceptable concepts, and those who did so could lose state funding and face prosecution.
Free speech advocates have warned governors to veto the bills. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union last month described them as an attempt to ban any discussion of racism.
“These anti-criticism bills on racial theory deprive young people of an inclusive education and suppress the discourse on race”, attorneys Sarah Hiner and Emerson Sykes wrote, “And now it is up to state governors across the country to veto these harmful bills.”
Joyce supports concert companies
Representative John Joyce, R-13th District, jumped into the discussion this month about what is commonly referred to as working together, proposing a federal study of the industry and opposing “Binding regulations”.
Joyce’s bill, proposed last week in the Energy and Trade Committee where he sits, would require the Commerce Secretary to conduct a study on the concert industry. The term often refers to jobs where workers perform individual tasks through apps or websites, but the details and legal definitions remain hotly debated.
In a discussion with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo this month, Joyce said the term “Includes new age businesses… such as Uber, Etsy and AirBnB. These companies use technology and individual workers to provide a variety of services.
The term “Individual workers” could be the key. Some states have already passed or debated business regulations, which often classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This distinction frees companies from certain legal requirements and makes it more difficult for workers to organize unions or negotiate better conditions.
California, for example, passed a law turning many independent contractors into employees, only for a subsequent voting initiative to reverse the rule for companies like Uber. And in New York, concert companies have proposed deals that would organize their workers into unions while preserving their legal status as independent contractors.
At the federal level, some politicians have proposed new laws or general regulations that could make it more difficult for concert companies to call their workers independent contractors. President Joe Biden recently appointed Uber critic David Weil to head a major division of the Department of Labor.
Although Joyce did not detail potential reforms or refer to specific rules, he made his position clear in a press release.
“As the odd-job economy continues to grow, we cannot allow onerous regulations to stand in the way of progress.” he said.
Trump continues to push Pa.
Former President Donald Trump again weighed in on GOP politics in Pennsylvania this week, attacking prominent Republican lawmakers for their reluctance to pursue an investigation into electoral fraud.
Trump attacked Sen. Jake Corman, R-Center, and Sen. David Argall, R-Berks, on Monday, comparing them to “Radical Left Democrat (s)” and suggesting that Corman could lose a future primary race. The attack came more than a week after Trump called on Republicans across the state to audit the 2020 election results.
An ongoing Arizona ballot audit has become something of a pilgrimage site for pro-Trump lawmakers across the country, with some supporters calling it a model for other states.
Ryan Brown covers statewide politics for Ogden Newspapers, owner of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.