COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX) — Legislation has been introduced to ban critical race theory from classrooms in South Carolina.
Critical race theory, is an evolving concept of researching disparities within government and society, and whether race plays a role in those disparities, according to University of South Carolina Professor Dr. David Martinez.
“For me, it becomes about asking how race plays a role in these different systems — policy, law, government,” Martinez said. “For me, it’s about inclusion, not exclusion.”
Martinez, who studies critical race theory on a doctoral level, said it’s purpose is to break down barriers, but there are many misconceptions about it. He said it’s not taught at grade level.
“I think what we need to recognize is that Critical Race Theory in and of itself, exists at pretty much a doctoral level sphere of education, this isn’t a framework that’s being taught in teacher prep,” Martinez said. “Critical race theory is not being taught in the P-12 pipeline.”
Yet State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman is speaking out against the concept. In a recent Facebook post, Spearman said critical race theory has no place in South Carolina schools and classrooms.
In the same post, she said public schools will focus on the state and country’s history — teaching the truth about the good and bad.
The Department of Education told WLTX Spearman’s statement is in response to a nationwide effort to determine how historical racism should be taught in schools.
“It is certainly not necessary for the education of young people, four years old all the way through high school,” Governor Henry McMaster said.
“I think that this is another illustration of why policy-makers need to talk to educators in the classroom before they start legislating on issues of curriculum, on issues that directly impact the classroom,” said Patrick Kelly, a government teacher.
Kelly said despite all the debate, it’s important to know, critical race theory is not taught in South Carolina schools.
“There’s a lot of assumptions about what’s happening and what’s not happening in South Carolina classrooms, and a lot of those are misguided and misinformed because they haven’t talked to the people that are in the classroom doing the work every day,” Kelly said.
Several states, including South Carolina, have pending legislation that could ban critical race theory from public education. State lawmakers have recently filed bills that aim to set rules on what can and can’t be taught about race, gender, and history in South Carolina.