New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has signed into law a two-year budget bill, which includes, among many other things, a ban on teaching the idea that individuals of a certain race or sex are inherently racist or sexist.
The $13.5 billion package, which the Republican governor called a “win for every citizen and family in this state,” establishes a voucher-like “education freedom account program,” allowing families to use state aid to cover the expense of private and homeschooling. It also contains elements of what was formerly known as House Bill 544, which outlines for “divisive concepts related to sex and race” to be banned from state-funded programs and contracts.
The new law, like others of its kind, is largely modeled after a now-rescinded executive order by former President Donald Trump. Specifically, it prohibits propagating the idea that individuals are inherently superior or inferior due to their race or sex, that individuals of any race or sex are inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that individuals should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly on account of their race or sex.
That being said, the law still allows teachers, government agencies, and contractors to present these concepts objectively, upholding the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech. It also states that the ban should not prevent them from promoting “racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity or inclusiveness,” so long that such efforts remain consistent with what the law requires.
“Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit discussing, as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the historical existence of ideas and subjects identified in this section,” the text of the law reads.
The idea that America and Americans of a certain race are inherently racist is being advocated by proponents of the Marxism-rooted critical race theory (CRT), which says racism is in every aspect of American society. Proponents seek to dismantle American institutions they claim are tools of racial oppression. The ideology has also been given increased social clout by The New York Times’s 1619 Project, which published of a collection of essays that argued, among many other controversial claims, that the primary reason for the American Revolution was to preserve slavery.
A K-12 curriculum based on the 1619 Project, developed by the Pulitzer Center, has made its way into many public school districts across the nation, including Chicago, Illinois; Buffalo, New York; and Newark, New Jersey. A new rule proposed in April by the Education Department also prioritizes funding for U.S. history and civics programs that incorporate the 1619 Project and the works of prominent CRT advocate Ibram X. Kendi.