The Critical Race Theory Loophole in South Carolina

The South Carolina legislature is receiving credit and praise for “restricting Critical Race Theory” through a budget proviso prohibiting the use of funds allocated by the SC Department of Education to school districts for use in teaching or training on the tenants of Critical Race Theory. The bulk of the language in the proviso is good as it lists specific racist tenants of the divisive, Marxist theory. However, the last sentence in the proviso is a major loophole that was no doubt added to enable wiggle room for the State Department of Education and districts to which funding is allocated. The closing sentence of the proviso says, “Nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any professional development training for teachers related to issues of addressing unconscious bias within the context of teaching certain literary or historical concepts or issues related to the impacts of historical or past discriminatory policies.” When an elected official was asked why this sentence was included because it appears to negate the entire proviso, United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) was told it had to be added to get it passed.  In a state with a super-majority Republican legislature, where all constitutional offices are held by Republicans, why in the world would they need to add the last sentence to get it passed? The only logical answer is RINOs! 

The loophole sentence in the proviso even contradicts the second CRT tenant listed in the proviso, which prohibits state funds being used to teach or train that, “an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

National media is crediting South Carolina for having restricted Critical Race Theory (CRT) with the proviso. The same thing occurred with Common Core. After a bill was passed to rewrite the standards, national media credited South Carolina (SC) for ending Common Core. The truth is the legislature stripped a good bill that would have eliminated Common Core in exchange for requiring a rewrite of the standards. According to the SC Education Oversight Committee, the “new” standards are 91% aligned with Common Core. So instead of a rewrite, South Carolina got a rebrand, as was the case for most states.

Be aware that educators and administrators already understand that the title “Critical Race Theory” is toxic and the tenants of the theory have been rebranded to things like Culturally Responsive Teaching, Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-racism Education, etc. So rather than asking straight up if your district teaches CRT, be more specific and list the tenants of CRT like those found in the SC Budget proviso.

Moreover, nothing in the proviso prevents local school districts from spending local money on CRT. In fact, CRT training was recently offered through the State Department of Education and the University of South Carolina, and there is plenty of evidence from around the state that this racist theory is already being taught.

The fight to protect children from this Marxist agenda is at the local school board level. Parents need to inquire locally and confront school boards about the tenants of CRT. When the Board is uncooperative, parents should find strong candidates to run in the next school board election. South Carolina school board elections vary across the state, but some elections are scheduled to take place as early as this November with filing usually taking place three months prior. NOW is the time to be looking at when your county is holding school board elections whether you live in South Carolina or another state! There are a lot of great resources at uspie.org for parents who want to take control of their school board. While you are there, be sure to sign-up to “join the movement” to restore parental and local control of education and consider a tax deductible donation to USPIE.

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