February 24, 2022
Introduced by Georgia Representative Will Wade, HB 1084 protects students and teachers from racial discrimination and compelled belief in racial essentialism doctrines or practices, including trainings and seminars that promote them.
The Left has been circulating myths and inaccuracies about HB 1084 and critical race theory (CRT) in the state of Georgia. Here are the facts:
MYTH 1: “CRT is not taught in Georgia K-12 schools.”
Critical race theory (CRT) began as an academic theory claiming that America is systemically racist and must be dismantled, and is now a worldview that is being applied in practice via activism and calls for moral, economic, and political revolution to fundamentally transform American society.
CRT proponent Kimberlé Crenshaw defines CRT “not as a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is an evolving and malleable practice.” CRT does not always manifest as a curriculum, but rather should be thought of as a lens through which any curriculum can be taught.
CRT has infiltrated school systems across the country with the goal to re-shape K-12 education, teaching children that everything must be viewed through the lens of race. Most egregiously, administrations have set policy and training procedures according to CRT’s premises and values, leading to overt racial discrimination. To learn more about what CRT is, review Heritage Action’s “CRT: Terms to Know” document.
Below are a few of the numerous examples of the application and influence of CRT in Georgia’s K-12 schools:
An Atlanta Public School segregated classrooms on the basis of race.
A syllabus posted by Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest public school district in the state of Georgia, clearly outlined plans to teach both critical race theory and Marxist thought by name to students enrolled in an AP Language and AP Research Combination Class. The school district remarked that “Students will bridge the skills from AP Language to AP Research, analyzing the value of using different lenses in social criticism (Critical Race Theory, Feminist, Marxist, Psychoanalytic) to aid their analysis across issues, and the class will discuss how these perspectives apply to the different methods used by research fields.” The syllabus was later removed from the district’s website, but can be viewed here.
DeKalb County Schools celebrated a Black Lives Matter Week of Action in 2020. Students in grades three to five were forced to “describe aspects of their identities such as race, gender, ability, religion, and more,” and reflect on having those characteristics. Students in grades six to 12 were forced to reflect on the ways they have experienced or participated in bias based on appearance.
A Cobb County school counselor wrote in the AJC that removing CRT from Georgia schools would force school counselors to violate their ethical standards and lose their certification with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), which requires them to “engage in anti-racist actions” and “dismantle systems of oppression.” She later resigned in protest after the Cobb County School Board passed a resolution to ban critical race theory in their classrooms.
Clayton County School District’s Equity Policy promotes “restorative justice,” acknowledges “intersecting oppression” caused by certain characteristics, seeks to interrupt “institutional bias” via professional learning and staff recruitment processes, and requires distributing resources based in part on race — all hallmarks of critical race theory.
MYTH 2: “This bill would prohibit critical thinking and the discussion of slavery or other difficult topics about history.”
As former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stated, “We teach the good and we teach the bad of history. But what we don’t do is make 7- and 10-year-olds feel that they are somehow bad people because of the color of their skin. We've been through that, and we don't need to do that again for anyone." Those are the values this bill defends.
HB 1084 specifically provides in Section 2(d)(7) that nothing in the bill shall be construed to prohibit the use of curricula that addresses the topics of slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, or racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in racial oppression, segregation, and discrimination.
This bill defends free speech. HB 1084 prohibits public school employees from forcing students to violate their First Amendment rights by compelling them to affirm tenets of critical race theory.
Schools are an important environment for the exchange of ideas. Students are free to engage in discussion as long as they abide by school codes of conduct. This bill ensures students remain free to think and free to learn.
When a teacher is acting in their official capacity, they teach on behalf of the state of Georgia, and it is unconstitutional for government employees to force private citizens, especially children, to hold beliefs that would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
HB 1084 does not defund public schools. The goal of the bill is to incentivize compliance with federal and state civil rights law and to ensure that public schools do not violate students’ civil rights. In the event violations occur and are not corrected, the State School Board is empowered to suspend Strategic Waiver School Systems’ waivers from certain state laws, rules, and regulations. Schools have ample opportunity to come into compliance without facing enforcement action.
State and local governments are vital partners for parents and are an important feature of our public education system. Local school boards and superintendents set and enforce policies and raise revenue to fund a portion of their districts’ budgets.
While districts have discretion in determining how their schools operate, there are certain basic standards set by the legislature that all schools in Georgia are required to meet. Complying with state and federal civil rights law is one of them. HB 1084 simply prohibits racial discrimination and compelled belief in racially essentialist doctrines or practices that would violate civil rights law and outlines a procedure in which a vast majority of complaints will be addressed by the school or local school board.