SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Georgia Board of Education passed a resolution last week that condemns some teaching about race.
The measure doesn’t specifically name critical race theory, but it’s growing more controversial and seems to be the point of the vote.
Board Chair Scott Sweeney told other members that the resolution sets a foundation for standards while local education authorities are responsible for curriculum.
The resolution does affirm the state board will work to prevent the promotion of any divisive ideologies based on race or sex from being incorporated into Georgia’s K-12 public education standards.
“We want to encourage people to teach the facts,” Sweeney said. “Is there racism within the country? Absolutely, all right. Is the entire country racist? I don’t agree with that.”
Dr. Jamal Toure, a Savannah historian and college professor, says the theory is being politicized.
“What we should really be focused on is history which is about honesty, telling everyone’s story and all facets of those stories,” Toure said.
While the state board says this is not about dividing any groups, Toure says in the past, Georgia’s education system has often left out the true stories of minorities.
“We’ve seen division, we’ve seen that with regards to the tales that have been told that make some people look inferior and other people look superior when really, it’s not true,” said Toure.
The resolution, among other things, lists that the U.S. is not a racist country and that Georgia is not a racist state. When the vote was taken last Thursday, most board members supported, it but two did not, including Kenneth Mason, who is African American.
“The statement, when I read it, made me feel like I didn’t belong,” Mason said. “Because it excused the existence of racism.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp would not agree.
The board acted after receiving a letter from the governor two weeks ago. He said at the time that he had had complaints from parents.
“I think the board made a great decision,” Kemp told WSAV last Friday when he was in Bryan County.
“I felt like the way the system works in Georgia, per the (state) Constitution, and that since we have a constitutionally elected state school superintendent and a board that governs the superintendent, that they should have a public process to deal with critical race theory,” said Kemp.
The governor said that “we need to make sure that we’re teaching the facts and not teaching an agenda.”
After the board passed the resolution last Thursday, the governor’s campaign sent out emails regarding the resolution and asked for donations.
Toure says that critical race theory has become a political football.
“Those who are caught up in ideologies who are now trying to clammer for votes,” he said.
“This is an easy target for people now to go run around and rally around when really they should rally round the flag of truth,” Toure added.