Opinion: Education Is Not a Pawn

Ty Benedict, Staff Writer

Texas. Florida. Alabama. Virginia. Georgia.

These are just a handful of states which have passed laws in the past year banning Critical Race Theory (CRT)-the analysis of how race affects America’s laws-and discussions of gender and sexuality in pre-secondary education. These laws are often vague, but their effects are much more catastrophic. Many teachers in states where these laws are in effect are afraid of violating state law, causing them to be reprimanded, or in some cases, losing their jobs.

An infamous example of these laws is the Parental Rights in Education Act. Despite what its name may imply, it does not give parents more of a say in their child’s education. Its primary function—according to Florida’s state senate—is to prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 classes, or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”, as well as prohibiting any procedure that requires school personnel to withhold information from parents.  Overall, this law is a thinly veiled realization of Florida Governor Ron Desantis’ Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, putting a chilling effect on inclusive education in the state.

But just because it’s happening in other states doesn’t mean it can’t happen here.  Dan Cox, the current republican candidate for Governor in Maryland, has a whole section on his website about supposed ‘gender indoctrination’ and CRT, calling it a “marxist lens”. Not only is this language dishonest, it’s dangerous. This sort of blatant misinformation has caused fear at school board meetings across the country, causing many school board members and teachers to fear for their lives.  What happens when those who are educating the next generation are fearing for their lives if they say ‘the wrong thing’? Well, it causes teachers to stop teaching accurate information, leading to kids having an incomplete understanding of not only the world, but their peers as well.

Whether everyone agrees or disagrees that public schools should be a more active part of a child’s development, it shouldn’t be controversial to say that schools should teach children the whole truth, rather than what politicians and pundits want them to learn.

As Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor said: “Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society”