A message from FRCC’s Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Council.
There is a staggering number of bills currently circulating in state capitols around the US aimed at regulating how educators talk about racism, sexism and issues of systemic inequality in the classroom.
According to an analysis by Education Week, legislators in 41 states have introduced bills—or taken other steps—to “restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism.” And 14 states have actually imposed these bans and restrictions—either through legislation or other avenues.
Restricting Discussion in Schools
One of the more prominent examples is Texas Senate Bill 3, which (among other things) bars K-12 instruction that contributes to individuals feeling “blame, or guilt for actions committed by other members of the same race or sex.” Similar broad language has been adopted in other states.
Bills in Iowa and Oklahoma (among others) have started to impact higher education, causing colleges to rethink general education requirements and reconsider offering some courses.
Some legislatures have also restricted K-12 conversation about sexuality and gender, most notably Florida House Bill 1557 (known by some as “Don’t say Gay”). That bill has passed in the legislature and is likely to be signed soon by the governor.
What the law actually means is the subject of much debate. And that’s a significant problem because—like many of these laws—it is broad, unclear and creates a cloud of worry about what behaviors it prohibits. There is good reason to think the bill would restrict almost any discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity through all of K-12 in that state.
Open Conversation is Critical
As members of the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Council at Front Range Community College, we’re extremely troubled by legislative initiatives around the country that attempt to dictate what educators are allowed to talk about in their classrooms.
As educators, we’re inclined to protest whenever there’s a move to prohibit discussion of almost any topic. The pursuit of truth and education is a core belief for us as an institution.
Race and Gender Are Key Topics
We are particularly concerned about efforts to restrict discussions of race and gender, given the long history of discrimination and bigotry in this country. Banning discussion of the difficult parts of American history will not erase them—instead, it will just make change more difficult.
We have an obligation to give every student the best possible education, and we can’t do that if we choose to be ignorant of the history of race or the variety of sexual orientations. As members of the FRCC community, we oppose any legislation that:
- Bans teaching certain racial topics to students
- Bans discussion of sexual orientation in schools
Here are just a few more reasons why we feel it’s important to make our stance clear on these bills…
A Welcoming, Safe Educational Environment
These types of proposed legislation do not represent the ideals of Front Range Community College, as specifically outlined in our Philosophy of Inclusion, which states: FRCC is committed to inclusive excellence, educational equity and advancing opportunity for all.
We aspire to create a safe, welcoming space for students to learn and share their experiences. We want to be that safe place for students to learn—not just to learn content, but also to learn how to share power in order to create a valuable learning environment for every student who walks through our door.
Together, We Are FRCC
FRCC celebrates the identities of everyone in our community. We are willing to reflect on history to promote true justice and equity.
We believe in protecting the rights of our students and fighting for social justice. We will continue to strive to make FRCC a safe and welcoming environment and will continue to advocate for honest and truthful dialogue in our education system.