Teaching CRT, traditional American history, or both?

Close up of a woman hand writing in an agenda on a desk at home or office

Critical race theory (CRT) has the attention of school systems across the country, even here in Appling County since Dr. Scarlett Copeland announced the situation to the Board of Education at the June 7 meeting. Georgia’s Attorney General Carr has joined a multi-state coalition of twenty other attorneys general in urging the Biden Administration to reconsider proposals to teach CRT, the 1619 Project and other similar curriculum in America’s classrooms starting in the fall.

“I believe in history by addition, not history by revision,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “This newly proposed rule would impose the flawed, radical teachings of critical race theory in Georgia’s schools. It must be rejected.”

A group of state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, urging the department to look at the directives for teaching “traditional American history” as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 suggests.

“Congress made clear that the purpose of the (ESSA) programs is to advance a traditional understanding of American history, civics, and government,” the letter states. “The proposed priorities would do little to advance that goal.”

The letter ends with a quote from Ronald Regan: “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

According to Encyclopedia Britannica’s editors, critical race theory is an intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed invented category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans. Critical race theory (CRT) was officially organized in 1989, though its intellectual origins go back much farther to the 1960s and ’70s.

Attorneys General from the following states are opposed to adding CRT to their schools’ curriculum: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.