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State school board hears public comment on Critical Race Theory proposal

FILE: The Utah State Board of Education building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Photo: Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah school debate over Critical Race Theory came back to the forefront this week with two hours of public comments. 

The Utah State Board of Education heard public comment on proposed rule R277-328 “Educational Equity in Schools” during a hearing Thursday night. 

The topic of the standing-room-only meeting was the rule outlining what teachers can and cannot discuss regarding race, equity, and inclusion in the classroom.

Without specifically mentioning it, the rule centers around Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory before the state school board

There were arguments for and against CRT from prominent groups. They included the Utah Education Association, Academic Integrity Movement, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, Ethnic Studies Coalition, and others.

“Because in Utah we proudly celebrate our pioneer heritage, we want to incorporate ethnic studies into the Utah state core curriculum more explicitly to honor the beautiful diversity that defines Utah’s enduring legacy,” said Dr. Kathleen Christy with the Utah Ethnic Studies Coalition. 

The hearing lasted two hours and was at times lively. 

“CRT and equity ideologies cannot survive in a true marketplace of ideas. That’s why special interest groups use government to force them into public schools which have a captive audience because of the monopoly public education has on pupil funding,” says Monica Wilbur with the Academic Integrity movement.

School board to consider comments

The Utah State Board of Education will consider the public comments. Next, it will submit amendments to its proposed “Educational Equity in Schools” rule August 5. 

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