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Committee of Ky. state lawmakers to discuss critical race theory on Tuesday

Two bills designed to ban its concepts in the classroom have already been pre-filed for 2022.
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A committee of Kentucky state lawmakers will discuss critical race theory at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, according to a schedule posted online by the Legislative Research Commission.

The Interim Joint Committee on Education is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex, the legislative calendar shows.

Among the items on the agenda: “Perspectives on Critical Race Theory,” with testimony from Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Jason Glass, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio and Kelland Garland, a middle school principal in Bullitt County and a board member of the Kentucky Association of School Councils.

[WATCH: Battle over critical race theory heats up - via CBS News]

Ahead of the next legislative session, Kentucky Republicans have pre-filed two similar bills that are designed to ban critical race theory concepts in public classrooms. Yet education advocates and administrators, as well as the state’s Democratic governor, have criticized efforts to stifle classroom conversations on the topics.

“Critical race theory is not based on facts or evidence but rather serves as a dangerous diversion from education priorities that are actually proven to eliminate disparities,” Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, said in a June 2 news release announcing that he pre-filed a bill to ban critical race theory concepts. “It is a powerful tool for those who seek to divide us into categories and destroy the very institutions that have seen generations of Americans of all races and backgrounds build successful futures.”

[GO DEEPER: Debating critical race theory - via KET]

Asked about the bill at a news conference when Rep. Fischer’s bill was pre-filed, Gov. Beshear called the effort concerning.

“I think once you start legislating what can and can’t be taught in schools, especially in the framework of politics, it gets really dangerous,” Gov. Beshear said at the time. “Our schools should be providing the best education for our children, they should be able to have open and real dialogue, and this idea that we would try to take something like this or almost anything and because of politics or things going on around the country legislate what exactly will be taught in schools is more than a little concerning to me.”

Dr. Glass called the bill “disappointing,” the Courier-Journal reports, and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence released a statement opposing legislation like it.

[MORE: Ky. education group pushing for more diversity to be taught in schools]

A bill similar to Fischer’s has also been pre-filed by Rep. Matt Lockett, R-Nicholasville. Discussion of his bill is on the agenda for Tuesday’s committee meeting.

WKYT’s requests for comment from multiple legislators went unanswered as of Monday afternoon.

Conservative backlash over critical race theory is growing. At least 25 states have introduced legislation to limit how public school teachers can talk about issues of race and sexism in the classroom, according to CBS News.

[READ ON: What is critical race theory, and why is it under attack? - via EducationWeek]

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