LANSING, Mich.—A group of Republican state representatives is working to garner some Democratic votes for a bill to ban critical race theory from being taught in Michigan’s nearly 900 public school districts.
The measure was drafted by state Rep. Andrew Beeler, a member of the Legislature’s Education Committee, and has 10 Republican co-sponsors.
Beeler told The Epoch Times that he was motivated to write the proposed legislation by his love for Michigan’s schoolchildren, his military experience, and his study of U.S. history.
“I wanted to do something to stop the teaching of a poisonous and extremely toxic doctrine, by which people are not judged by their own merits as individuals, but by their racial or gender identity,” said Beeler, a Navy veteran.
Republican state Rep. John Damoose told The Epoch Times that he worked with Beeler in crafting the language of the bill, as well as in the effort to solicit input from Democrats prior to the measure’s introduction.
“Our intent was to incorporate thinking from both sides of the aisle in order to avoid unexpected pitfalls and make sure we understood any weaknesses in our arguments. Since the two of us went the extra mile, I would hope some Democrats join us. If not, they will be responsible for explaining which planks of our bill they disagree with.”
Several Democrat representatives and the governor’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the bill by press time.
Attack on CRT
“Make no mistake about it. Though this bill’s intention is not to be partisan, it is an attack on critical race theory. CRT is racist. It’s bad,” Beeler said.
The sponsors’ strategy was to not include the words “critical race theory” in the legislation, according to Beeler.
“We did this to avoid ambiguity so that those committed to getting around the law do not turn it into a question of semantics. ‘Oh, we don’t teach that,’ they might say. But they will go on teaching the exact doctrines of CRT while calling it by another name,” he said.
To minimize the potential circumventing of the law, the authors laid out nine specific doctrines that are expressly prohibited, including that “racial, ethnic, or gender groups hold a collective quality or belief” or that “individuals act in ways or hold opinions because of their race or gender.” The bill, if enacted, would also prohibit teaching that people are born racist or sexist based on their race or gender.
The measure calls for school districts to teach the core academic curriculum which “must not include attitudes, beliefs, or value systems.” It also mandates that the state Board of Education assessment programs and the Michigan merit examination are to be based on the model core curriculum content. Testing is only to be for proficiency in academic skills, and must not be used to measure pupils’ values or attitudes.
Republican state Rep. Brad Slagh, a certified teacher, said he supports the bill because it keeps out of the core curriculum any form of race and gender stereotyping or anything that could be understood as implicit race or gender stereotyping.
“We should teach objectively both the good and the bad about our country without impugning the motives of entire groups or classes of people,” he said.
Critical race theory is a system of thought that divides society into “oppressors” and the “oppressed” based on the supposed inherent privilege derived from being a member of a particular race or gender. It’s a branch of the overarching Marxist ideology of “struggle” that advocates the destruction of the norms, morals, culture, history, and traditions of a society.
The bill has gone through its first reading and has been referred to the Education Committee.