Last week we told you about a bill that would prohibit the teaching of various “concepts” related to race, gender, and gender identity; punish educators for the discussion of these topics; and provide a private cause of action for “aggrieved” individuals. The deceptively titled “Anti-Racism Act of 2022” (SB 498) is one of several bills supported by extremists who want to suppress the truth about actions and policies that have injured and continue to harm marginalized people and communities. John Bolt with the WV Coalition for Truth in History had an excellent op-ed today in Sunday’s Gazette-Mail about these and the other classroom censorship bills that have been introduced this session.
On Thursday, the House Education Committee took up and passed HB 4011, which would prohibit discussion of racism and sexism in our schools under the guise of “curriculum transparency” and free speech. (For a recap of what happened, check out this legislative update from Fairness WV.) This so-called “Anti-Stereotyping Act” is particularly insidious because it’s intended to “bait the Left into opposing ‘transparency.’” That’s the strategy laid out by Christopher Rufo, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute who has been instrumental in drawing opposition to racial sensitivity training, according to a recent report from NBC News.
As Eric Engle, a regular columnist in the Gazette-Mail put it, “the authoritarian right smells political opportunity and is diligently following the scent.” HB 4011 is nothing but a camouflaged effort to ban discussion of so-called “divisive concepts” or teaching that even suggests that discrimination is a part of our nation’s history and continues to be present in its social structures.
We need to have truthful and honest discussions with our kids about systemic racism, oppression and privilege, and other forms of discrimination. HB 4011 would prohibit these important discussions. It’s also an unfunded mandate on our already struggling schools designed to intimidate teachers and further undermine public education.
Although the Education Committee has advanced the bill the fight is far from over. It now heads to the House Judiciary Committee. Here are some actions you can take.
- Tell House Judiciary Chair, Delegate Moore Capito, to keep HB 4011 off his committee’s agenda. Call (304) 340-3252 now.
- Write or call members of the House Judiciary Committee and tell them to oppose HB 4011. You can find contact information here or take action via this campaign by Fairness WV.
- Check out and share today’s virtual press conference on HB 4011 and SB 498 sponsored by the WV Coalition for Truth in History, the WV NAACP, and WV NOW. You can access the event on the WV NOW Facebook page.
- Attend/speak at Wednesday’s public hearing. Earlier today the House Judiciary Committee announced that there will be a public hearing Wednesday, February 9 at 9AM in the House Chamber.
- Sign this petition to WV legislators: Censoring History Spawns Injustice; Dialogue Fosters Equity
- Support the WV Coalition for Truth in History with a donation to help pay for ads in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and other newspapers by sending a check to WVCTH c/o WV NAACP, PO Box 6491, Wheeling, WV 26003. (Message firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for alternative payment options or to add your name to future ads.)
- Attend the next WV Coalition for Truth in History meeting, Thursday, February 10 at 7 PM. (Message firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to get the link.)
Did you know Carter G. Woodson, “the father of Black history” had roots in West Virginia? The Black History Month founder showed how schools should teach about race and why it matters.