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GOP Bans On Teaching About Racism Drive Out Educators

Above Photo: With the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (left), Florida state Sen. Manny Diaz (right) has introduced a bill that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” when teaching about racism. Official photo of DeSantis; Diaz photo from the Florida House via Wikipedia.

It’s the latest move in the Republican campaign to curb discussion of racism in classrooms across the South and nation.

Date on which the Florida Senate Education Committee gave initial approval along party lines to a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. and championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” when teaching about racism: 1/18/2022

Number of days later that a Florida school district canceled a college professor’s seminar for teachers on the history of the civil rights movement, citing in part concerns over critical race theory: 1

Month in which DeSantis held a campaign-style event in which he called critical race theory — a decades-old academic movement examining the intersection of race and law — “crap” and said he’d press for legislation banning it from being taught in his state’s schools: 12/2021

Since Republicans began campaigning against critical race theory in 2019 after The New York Times published The 1619 Project examining the central role racism has played in U.S. history, number of states that have adopted laws or other policies banning its teaching: 14

Of the 14 states that have banned the teaching of critical race theory, number in the South: 7 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.)

In an unprecedented action, percent of Mississippi’s 14 Black state senators who walked out of the Republican-controlled chamber last week to protest a vote on a bill to ban the teaching critical race theory in the state’s public schools as well as colleges and universities: 100

Date on which newly elected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who on his first day in office banned the teaching of “inherently divisive concepts” including critical race theory in the state’s schools, announced that he was launching a tip line for people to report teachers “behaving objectionably”: 1/24/2022

Month in which North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, became the first governor to veto an anti-critical race theory bill, saying it “pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education”: 9/2021

Month in which the school board in Sullivan County, Tennessee, voted to dismiss Matthew Hawn, a white teacher and baseball coach, because he taught anti-racism lessons in the classroom: 6/2021

Month in which a school district in Texas — among the states that have passed critical race theory bans — suspended a Black principal, James Whitfield, after a white former school board candidate accused him of promoting “the conspiracy theory of systemic racism” because he wrote a letter to the school community expressing his hurt over the killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia: 8/2021

Month in which Whitfield submitted his resignation, saying he’s happy he stood up for what he believes in and hopes people will learn from his experience: 11/2021

According to a new national survey of 2,000 teachers, portion who were considering leaving the profession before the pandemic: 1 in 6

Portion of teachers who said they were considering leaving during the pandemic but before the surge in teaching bans: 1 in 4

Percent of teachers who said the campaign for laws discouraging honest discussion about racism make them more likely to leave the profession at the end of this school year: 37

According to an Ipsos poll released last year, percent of Americans — including a majority of Republicans — who say they support teaching high school students about racism’s impacts: 73

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