Republican governors advocated for the role of parents in their children's education at the 2022 National Governors Association meeting, saying that most of them "don't want" critical race theory taught in schools.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, R., who banned critical race theory from state classrooms in May, said outlawing the controversial curriculum was a no-brainer.
"It’s a page and a half," Stitt said of his order. "I don’t know how you could argue with it. It simply says that we’re not going to teach in Oklahoma that one sex or one race is superior to another race. And we’re not going to teach a first-grader in Oklahoma that they’re somehow responsible for something that happened 100 years ago. It’s really a commonsense approach to us. But it does say in the bill that we will teach Oklahoma academic standards, we will teach history. We’re just not going to get into the race-baiting stuff."
The fight over education was a hot topic last year as advocates exposed the use of CRT, which teaches that U.S. institutions are inherently racist. The curriculum fired parents up across the country, particularly in Virginia, where the issue was arguably the largest factor in Republican Glenn Youngkin's win. His opponent, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D., irked voters after saying during a debate, 'I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." Parents confronted local school boards throughout the state to demand to know what their kids were learning.
"The will of Virginians was clear: Parents should have a say in education," Youngkin wrote of his win in a recent Washington Post op-ed.
"God gave kids to parents not to the government," Stitt continued, touting the state increased funding for charter schools. "Parents should be ultimately the ones that are in charge and those communities and should decide what’s best for their kids. We believe in that local control and those decisions to be made at the kitchen table with what’s best for their kids. Not some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. The more options we can have in Oklahoma, the better."
Gov. Doug Ducey, R., similarly told the government to butt out of kids' education, while also touting Arizona as being "the No. 1 school choice state in the nation." By and large, Ducey said, parents have decided they don't want CRT in the classroom.
"We’re very proud of our position on school choice," Ducey told Fox News Digital. "We want to give parents every option under the sun. And parents don’t want CRT taught in our schools. We’re going to take a lesson from Martin Luther King, Jr. He said we’re going to judge kids on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That’s how we’re going to evaluate everyone. So we’re not going to divide people by race in the state of Arizona. And CRT has no place there."
"I believe parents are in charge of their children," he continued. "It’s their child. Parents of course should have the say of where their child is educated. They should have that choice. Then this whole problem and debate would be solved."
CRT proponents have lately insisted that the curriculum is not even taught in schools – a notion parents and activists pushed back on at Fox Nation's "Miseducation of America" event last month in Richmond, Va. Former Vanderbilt University professor and author Carol Swain told Fox News Digital it was a "ridiculous argument." She and other parent-activists said while the theory may not be printed on school itinerary, the ideas have been condensed into children's books.
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo, for instance, identified Anastasia Higginbotham's "Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things)" as one of the race-based children's books in schools. "Racism is a White person's problem, and we are all caught up in it," one part reads.
"There are numerous examples of this concept that came from the theorists in law schools – Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Kimberlé Crenshaw, that have been distilled into children’s books," Swain said.
"There’s plenty of evidence that critical race theory is being taught in schools," Florida mom and activist Quisha King agreed. "I think at this point it is a joke if anybody says that critical race theory is not being taught."