ATLANTA — A dozen metro Atlanta school board members have signed a letter opposing a bill that would ban the teaching of subjects like critical race theory in Georgia schools.
Critical race theory, also known as CRT, is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism and centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions.
House Bill 888, introduced by Rep. Brad Thomas (R-Holly Springs), aims to keep CRT out of in Georgia classrooms, though it is not currently caught in the state’s public schools.
Channel 2 Action News obtained a copy of the letter from the school board members who oppose HB 888.
The letter includes signatures of members from Atlanta Public, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett school boards, which are some of the largest districts in the state.
In the letter, the group calls HB 888 “an attack on free speech, an insult to our teachers, and an effort to cancel public education as we know it.”
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The letter was signed after Gov. Brian Kemp said he would work with lawmakers to restrict the teaching of subjects such as critical race theory.
“From the classroom to the ball field, there are those who want to divide our kids along political lines, push partisan agendas and indoctrinate students from all walks of life,” Kemp said. “This is wrong. It’s dangerous, and as long as I’m governor, it will not take root in Georgia.”
Georgia Democrats accused Kemp of using the CRT issue to appeal to the GOP base.
“CRT is not a real issue, not in Georgia schools,” said House Minority Leader State Rep. James Beverly, (D) Macon. “And the so-called push against it is a manufactured culture war meant to distract people from the real issues students and teachers face.”
The school board members agreed in their letter.
“This bill places an outrageous burden on the backs of public educators across the state. As elected officials, we should be working to make life easier for our teachers — instead, HB 888 does the exact opposite.”
Cobb County School Board member Dr. Jaha Howard said lawmakers should be concerned about bigger issues.
“We have lawmakers who more concerned about feeding red meat to the extremes of their base instead of making sure our kids are getting what they need to succeed,” Howard said. “At the end of the day, let’s make sure our kids are reading on or above grade level.”
Howard said the irony about the bill in Georgia is almost comical.
“Now, come on, we still have kids that are walking into schools named after Confederate generals, and we’re afraid to talk about race and racism,” he said.
Governor Kemp told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston he hasn’t seen the letter yet.
“They’re there to hear the truth, not someone’s opinion or political agenda,” Kemp said. “We look forward to working with the legislature, but also the educators on this issue throughout the session.”
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