As Black History Month is currently being observed, only 27 percent of Americans say the American History they were taught in school reflected a full and accurate account of the role of African Americans in the United States according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults.
“Removed from the classroom, two-thirds of Americans look back and say they were not taught enough about the struggles and the triumphs of African Americans,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
Meanwhile, in Alabama, the first bill addressing the teaching of “divisive concepts” such as Critical Race Theory is set to come before the Alabama House committee on state government Wednesday afternoon.
HB 312, sponsored by Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Alexander City, bans various state institutions including K-12 schools and universities from teaching certain divisive concepts about race, sex and religion. This is a substitute for Oliver’s previous bill after being tweaked in conversations with multiple parties.
The bill does not address Critical Race Theory by name, unlike a resolution already passed by the Alabama State Board of Education banning the teaching from schools.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey said there has already been confusion as parents have complained about Black History teachings this month going against the ban.
“There are people out there who don’t understand what CRT is. And so in their misunderstanding of it they make a report, but it’s not actually CRT,” Mackey told the House education policy committee earlier this month.
Oliver’s bill lays out divisive concepts including teaching that any race, sex or religion is inherently superior, that Alabama or the U.S. is inherently racist or sexist, and that slavery is anything other than a betrayal and failure of “American values.”
Critics have argued that CRT is a high-level theory and is not even taught in K-12 schools, and that limiting its teaching at the college level is a dangerous precedent. There is also concern that it will create confusion as to what history teachers can and cannot teach.
There will be a public hearing on Oliver’s bill at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Room 206 of the Alabama Statehouse.