Senate candidate Katie Boyd Britt said Thursday that she agrees with Gov. Kay Ivey and that Alabama’s public schools “should be focused on improving our dismal national math and reading scores.” At Tuesday’s meeting of the State Board of Education, Ivey spoke in support of a controversial resolution that would ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Alabama’s public schools.
State School Superintendent Eric Mackey drafted a resolution to ban CRT instruction. Members of the board were divided on whether to pass the resolution, and a vote on the matter was postponed to the August meeting.
“As president of the state school board, I firmly believe that our number one priority as a state board is to provide a quality education for every student in the public schools that will lead them to a path of self-sufficiency and prosperity regardless of their race or gender,” Ivey said, speaking in support of Mackey’s resolution.
Following the State Board of Education meeting, Britt issued her statement agreeing with Gov. Ivey.
“Governor Ivey is spot on,” Britt said. “We need to be teaching our kids the skills they need to be successful in life and contribute to society. Our schools should be focused on improving our dismal national math and reading scores and ensuring our children are well-prepared to land good-paying jobs that enable them to raise their families in safe, strong communities, no matter where in Alabama they live.”
Mackey insisted that Critical Race Theory is not currently part of the Alabama school curriculum and is not presently being taught in the state at the K-12 level. Mackey also was reticent to do anything to limit a classroom teacher’s ability to discuss race or social issues.
Alabama’s public schools generally are regarded as among the worst in the developed world. In the most recent year we have test results for Alabama, students were 52nd in math and 46th in reading compared to their peers in other states.
“At the end of the day, we must remember to heed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, which teach us to judge others on the content of their character – not the color of their skin,” Britt said. “The American Dream is of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. We must always root out racism wherever it exists, but as we continue on our daily march to form a more perfect union, we cannot lose sight of the fact that America is the greatest force for good the world has ever known.”
State School Board Member Stephanie Bell, a Republican, supports banning Critical Race Theory in the schools but said that the language in the Mackey resolution was too weak and does not go far enough because it doesn’t require compliance and there are no consequences for not following the resolution. Bell called on the state Legislature to address this issue if the board fails to take decisive action. Bell urged that the language in the resolution be changed to make the ban stronger.
State Board member Tonya Chestnut said she couldn’t agree with some of the language in the resolution.
“Racism isn’t gone,” Chestnut said. “I can’t with good conscience say that it’s true that Alabama isn’t a racist state. We want it to be true, but we haven’t gotten there.”
Eagle Forum of Alabama supports banning Critical Race Theory and they have written their own resolution with stronger language. At a recent conference in Shelby County, Alabama Eagle Forum Director Becky Gerritson denounced Critical Race Theory and said that it is based on Marxism.
“Critical Race Theory teaches that racism is normal, it’s everywhere and it’s unavoidable,” Gerritson said. “It’s Marxism.”
State Reps. Arnold Mooney and Chris Pringle, both Republicans, have pre-filed legislation to ban the teaching of CRT in the state. Alabama Republican Executive Committee member former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr., R-Montgomery, is drafting a resolution for the Alabama Republican Party Summer Meeting in August that would urge legislators to pass this legislation.
“As a member of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, I am sponsoring a resolution for the executive committee to call on the Legislature to pass a law banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory and any of its tenants in Alabama Public Schools,” Hooper said. “The Resolution will also call on the State and Local schools boards to immediately stop any attempt to teach critical race theory in the 21 -22 school year. As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, “Let me be clear: there’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory, Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
“I call on all Alabamians to join this effect to stop the poison of Critical Race Theory by talking to your legislators and school board members and letting your opinion be known,” Hooper said. “We must not allow our public schools to become indoctrination centers for the far left.”
Supporters of the legislative ban want Ivey to add that to the call for a special session, presumably to address the state’s prisons.
Conservatives are also asking that the State Board of Education or the Legislature repeal the much-maligned, Common Core-aligned Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, which to this point have been a dismal failure by almost every measure.
Britt, Jessica Taylor, Congressman Mo Brooks and former Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard are all running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The Republican Primary will be on May 24, 2022.