Missouri schools have local control and create their own curricula, Gov. Mike Parson tweeted on Monday. Schools are teaching “diversity, equity and inclusion,” not the controversial critical race theory.
Parson said schools receive input from both parents and teachers and “know best how to address these topics.” Parson’s tweets come on the heels of a contentious and at times emotional three-hour Joint Committee on Education hearing Monday afternoon. During the hearing, multiple witnesses were invited to speak against the teaching of critical race theory in the classroom. Although a University of Missouri professor who aids Missouri schools with critical race theory curriculum was invited, he did not attend, and no one spoke in favor of the teaching.
Parson’s statements made it clear that local schools districts have the power to teach CRT.
Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not issue guidance or a definition of critical race theory to the state’s schools. It’s up to local education agencies to build a curriculum, a DESE spokesperson said. DESE typically does not collect data or information on the curriculum and materials LEAs provide, but it has been asked to survey them regarding the local use of critical race theory teachings, the spokesperson said. The department is in the process of compiling the questions to be sent to LEAs.
Parson’s comments were contradicted by a Department of Education spokesperson who said some districts may be teaching the controversial, and some say racist, curriculum.
DESE chief of governmental relations Michael Harris told lawmakers a “vast majority” of Missouri schools do not teach critical race theory, a sentiment Parson then later clarrified.
Lawmakers have urged Parson to issue an executive order and proposed legislation to ban critical race teaching curriculum. Legislation from Sen. Rick Brattin failed to make it through the General Assembly during the regular session. And another bill introduced during the special session also stalled after its introduction.
Parson’s comments come as the nation’s largest teacher’s union has pledged to teach CRT in every state.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice