A Colorado school district has banned the controversial critical race theory from being taught in its schools.
The Colorado Springs School District 49 school board voted 3-2 Thursday night to keep CRT out of its classrooms, according to the district’s website.
Board director Ivy Liu and secretary Rick Van Wieren argued in a summary of the ban that while educators should certainly teach about race and racism, they should not “deliberately undermine” family values, faith or other principles.
“The driving force behind CRT and antiracism is the acceptance of a worldview that encompasses specific notions about history, philosophy, sociology, and public policy,” they wrote. “By its own terms, CRT/antiracism excludes individuals who merely advocate for neutral principles of the Constitution, or who deny or question the extent to which white supremacy shapes our institutions.”
They also noted that every student “has a unique life story” and disputed the types of race-based generalizations included in some critical race theory materials.
“While instructors and administrators may recognize and/or believe in particular doctrines in the areas of faith, civil rights, economics, international affairs, sociology, or politics, it never should be the role of public educators to endorse or proselytize on behalf of a specific perspective in any of these areas,” the board’s anti-CRT cover sheet reads.
The district’s critical race theory ban also includes a provision against teaching “collectivism,” the concept that group identity is more important than individual liberty.
One board member who voted against the ban described it as “a solution to a problem that does not exist.”
Emails sent to the five board members seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Critical race theory has become a hot-button issue at school board meetings around the country. Some states have taken action to ban it outright, as district officials have wrestled whether to include CRT materials in faculty training sessions or in the classroom.
Earlier this week, the Paso Robles district in California also banned critical race theory in its classrooms in a 4-3 vote.
Chris Arend, the board president there, called it an “ideology” and “not really even an academic theory.”
He argued that when it does make it into classrooms, it’s usually disguised or introduced in small pieces.
“Nobody anywhere in the country wants to have a course called ‘critical race theory for elementary school,’” he said. “This stuff will seep into the curriculum. It will seep in when the teachers start teaching that this country has always been racist, that racism is the way things get done.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate narrowly passed a budgetary amendment introduced by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, which would block federal funds from going toward teaching CRT in schools.