By: ShaCamree Gowdy
A hearing on how educators teach K-12 kids about race and racism was held in Missouri on Monday, but no Black parents, teachers, or researchers were present.
Only skeptics of Critical Race Theory, with the exception of a representative from Missouri’s education department, testified at the hearing, per The Associated Press. Critical Race Theory is a way of thinking about America’s past through the prism of racism.
Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, a Republican who chairs the Joint Committee on Education, said she wanted to use the meeting to emphasize the concerns of parents who have complained to local school officials about Critical Race Theory. She added that she invited an associate professor of teaching with a focus on Black history to speak, but he rejected.
“I felt today it was important to hear from people who have tried to go through the official cycle of authority within their districts and have basically been turned away,” she told committee members, per AP.
Heather Fleming, a former Missouri teacher who now teaches diversity and inclusion training, said she was denied the chance to testify. “You’re talking about us, without us,” she said, adding that it really showed “this wasn’t really about understanding.”
In response to what they saw as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights laws of the 1960s, Critical Race Theory was established in the 1970s and 1980s.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said on Twitter that it has “no business being taught in Missouri classrooms — but the vast majority of our schools are not doing that.”
Critical Race Theory (CRT) has no business being taught in Missouri classrooms — but the vast majority of our schools are not doing that. Missouri schools are teaching diversity, equity, and inclusion to help prepare our students for life and for the workforce… (1/3)
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) July 20, 2021
O’Laughlin said more hearings on Critical Race Theory and opportunities for the public to weigh in are forthcoming.