ALL NEWS

Utah Democrats walk out of session on Critical Race Theory

May 19, 2021, 7:36 PM
Bill changing car tint limits passed last week....
Utah lawmakers passed a bill changing limits on car window tints. Colby Walker, KSL NewsRadio.

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite Gov. Spencer Cox opting not to include Critical Race Theory or Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation in a special session Wednesday, Utah lawmakers went ahead with a session of their own to address them — but some of their colleagues walked out in protest. 

Utah Democrats walk out of Critical Race Theory discussion

House Democrats walked out before the discussion even began to send a message, according to Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Salt Lake City. 

“Our caucus wasn’t involved in any of the discussions,” she said. “We weren’t consulted, we weren’t invited to any meetings.” 

Moss believes Republicans intentionally left Democrats out of the discussions. She does not think the legislature should be telling the state school board what belongs in its curriculum. 

“It goes back to the Utah constitution — it’s the state board of education that oversees public education, not the legislature,” Moss said. 

Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio the measure lacked diverse voices. 

“The entire endeavor was authored without any effort whatsoever to reach out to any member of our body who is a person of color, who have real lived experience with the issues that are dealt with in Critical Race Theory,” Dailey-Provost said. 

Republicans: “Nobody wants their kids… to be shamed” 

The American Bar Association describes Critical Race Theory as a practice that “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.”

About a dozen states to date have considered bills that target Critical Race Theory; most recently, Idaho’s governor signed one such measure into law. The theory’s proponents argue we should acknowledge how past racist policies may continue to affect communities of color. Opponents argue it teaches children to hate America, or to feel shame or guilt over who they are. 

“We’re one of the states with the five highest suicide rates,” Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News. “Nobody wants their kids to go to school and to be shamed for the color of their skin, the way that God made them. And I think that’s very important, and I think some parents don’t want their kids to be shamed in school because they were born as American.” 

Weiler argues curriculum decisions should come at the local level. 

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, sponsored the resolution preventing the use of Critical Race Theory in K-12 education in Utah. He says the Utah State Board of Education should define Critical Race Theory. 

“And because we’re spread so far apart, and moving around so rapidly, we haven’t engaged in a real conversation about what this is,” he said. 

Response from state school board 

The Utah Board of Education sent a newsletter to educators across the state Wednesday addressing the Critical Race Theory debate. In the statement, the board pointed out it’s received no requests to add Critical Race Theory to the curriculum. 

“To date, no Board Member has raised Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an agenda item to include in Utah’s K-12 schools, and advocates have not asked for specific theories to be taught. Rather, there has been a focus on education equity and access to learning for all students,” the statement reads. 

The Board recognizes the current national discourse surrounding CRT, and its potential for divisive impacts on teachers, students, and families. We also recognize that how we respond and engage in this discourse will, too, carry impacts and provide lessons of its own.

We have been deeply engaged in efforts surrounding education equity, and race in schools over the past several months. The efforts have produced meaningful milestones including a working definition for “educational equity” and a Resolution Denouncing Racism and Embracing Equity in Utah Schools. Our current examination now centers on standards for how school districts and charter schools provide professional learning on equity.

Even with the walkout on Wednesday, both the Critical Race Theory resolution and one establishing the state as a Second Amendment Sanctuary passed the legislature. As resolutions, the measures may have much weight. 

Read more: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Wasatch County Sheriff's Office...
Mark Jones

Highland man dies in snowmobile accident in Wasatch County

A 51-year-old man from Highland died in a snowmobile accident Tuesday afternoon in Wasatch County, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office.
23 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police took a 44-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection to the burglar...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City Police announce third arrest in September homicide

Salt Lake City Police say a third person has been taken into custody in connection to a September homicide.
23 hours ago
Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google...
Devin Oldroyd

DWR and UDOT introducing new app Utah Roadkill Reporter

Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google Play and the App store now.
23 hours ago
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is his nominee to serve on t...
Mark Jones

Tax cuts, teacher salary raise among budget recommendations by Cox

On Thursday, Gov. Cox announced significant tax cuts and a salary increase for all teachers are included in his recommendations for the fiscal year 2024 budget.
23 hours ago
Baby Formula Shortagae...
Aubri Wuthrich

Shortage of baby formula continues to worry parents

While the baby formula shortage has improved since earlier this year, experts say there still isn't enough.
23 hours ago
The families of three Hunter High shooting victims protested outside the office of Salt Lake County...
Aimee Cobabe

Families of Hunter High shooting victims unhappy with plea deal

The families of three Hunter High students who were shot in January are upset with the plea deal given to the 15-year-old suspect.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Utah Democrats walk out of session on Critical Race Theory