North Dakota governor signs bill banning CRT in schools
The bill aims to ‘ensure’ that all curriculum remains ‘factual’
The governor of North Dakota signed a bill Friday banning critical race theory (CRT) in schools, making North Dakota the latest Republican-controlled state to take legislative action against CRT in public education.
“This bill addresses the concerns of parents while preserving the decision-making authority of local school boards to approve curriculum that is factual, objective and aligned with state content standards,” Gov. Doug Burgum told Fox News in a statement. He signed the bill Friday.
The anti-CRT bill was swiftly introduced and approved during a special session that was called to address redistricting and the spending of coronavirus stimulus money.
In this April 10, 2020, file photo, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. He has the chance to either sign or veto a bill banning critical race theory in North Dakota’s public schools after it passed the state Senate Friday. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)
“This bill is about critical race theory, and it’s mostly about preventing it from being taught in our state,” Republican state Sen. Donald Schaible said Friday.
“It’s a political ideology … It is an ideology that if we can indoctrinate it into our children young it would have a political consequence on our children later,” Republican state Sen. Janne Myrdal, who introduced the bill in the Senate, said. “We’re not talking about teaching history and racism, I deplore racism as I think everybody in this body does … We need to teach true history, and we need to teach all of it.”
The one-page bill says that public schools and districts “shall ensure instruction on its curriculum is factual” and “may not include instruction relating to critical race theory.” It gives the state school superintendent the authority to create rules to enforce the CRT ban.
The bill defines critical race theory as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systematically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Dakota argues the bill is about censorship in the classroom.
The bill “is a direct affront to the constitutional rights of teachers and students across North Dakota by restricting conversations around race in our schools,” ACLU North Dakota campaigns director Libby Skarin said. “This bill is intended to inflame a political reaction, not further a legitimate educational interest.”
A stock photo of students in a classroom. The North Dakota Senate Friday passed a bill to ban critical race theory in schools. The office of Gov. Doug Burgum did not return multiple requests for comment from Fox News about whether he will sign it.
North Dakota is far from the first state to address critical race theory in legislation. According to the Brookings Institution, eight states had passed bills relating to CRT as of August this year.
Critical race theory has become a major divisive factor in American politics. A Fox News voter analysis of the Virginia governor’s race last week showed that one-quarter of voters cited the CRT debate as the single most important factor on their minds when they cast their votes. Among those voters, 71% voted for Republican Glenn Youngkin, who won the election.