COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The debate over critical race theory took center stage at the South Carolina State House.
This week, the House spent hours debating H.5183. The legislation would enact the ‘South Carolina Transparency and Integrity In Education Act’.
Supporters said it would help families know what their child is being taught in school and prohibits certain concepts.
Critics said the bill is unnecessary censorship since critical race theory isn’t being taught in K-12 schools and sends a bad message to educators.
The legislation was crafted after the House Education and Public Works committee listened to 18 hours of public testimony. The bill states:
The following prohibited concepts may not be included or promoted in a course of instruction, curriculum, assignment, instructional program, instructional material, or professional educator development or training:
(1) one race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior to another race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin;
(2) an individual, by virtue of the race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin of the individual, inherently is privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;
(3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin of the individual;
(4) the moral character of an individual is determined by the race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin of the individual;
(5) an individual, by virtue of the race or sex of the individual, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin;
(6) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic:
(a) are racist, sexist, belong to the principles of one religion; or
(b) were created by members of a particular race, sex, or religion to oppress members of another race, sex, ethnicity, color, national origin or religion; and
(7) fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, or to members of a race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin because of their race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.
It also requires local education agencies to share the curriculum with parents and requires a procedure be put in place to report possible violations.
The House took up dozens of amendments Wednesday. It voted down most of them but adopted an amendment that required ‘impartial teaching’ when discussing controversial segments of history.
House Democrats said that vague and broad language would lead to impact lessons on the Holocaust and slavery.
Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Williamsburg) said, “We have a beautiful history in this country. It has it’s high points and it’s low points. If you take it out you have a bland veneer of lies and fiction.”
Thursday, Rep. Rita Allison (R-Spartanburg) said the bill does not ban the teaching of controversial topics.
“It specifically provides that schools can teach the history of ethnic groups as described in our state standards already,” she said.
According to Allison, the legislation also creates a uniform system complaint process and that will protect educators.
“The bill prohibits hearsay and groundless accusations and gives teachers, parents, students and parents an understandable system,” said Allison.
The House voted 73-40, mostly along party lines, to give the bill second reading. The legislation needs a two-thirds vote to be taken up by the Senate since it did not meet the cross over deadline earlier this month.