ND Legislature passes ‘Critical Race Theory’ Bill

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 12:29 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota’s ban on “Critical Race Theory” is heading for the governor’s desk.

With a 38-9 vote in the Senate, the bill passed the final hurdle and will become law barring a veto by Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.

The bill bans the theory from being taught in schools, but lawmakers and educators say they have no proof that its being taught outside of examples in college courses.

Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, and Sen. Donald Schaible, R-Mott, said they are trying to keep it from “creeping in” after concerned parents contacted them.

Lawmakers against the bill said the bill would set a precedent of the legislature putting limits on classrooms.

Committee hearings for HB 1508 were among the most attended by the public and received some of the most testimony. Often, it was divided among concerned parents saying their kids are being “indoctrinated” and educators and students who either say the curriculum isn’t being taught and that the elements under “Critical Race Theory” is not as contentious as its being portrayed.

Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, said there are higher priorities the legislature should take up, and she wasn’t referring only to a special session. She also requested lawmakers to stop trying ban things seen on social media. Adding that the bill the “definition of Culture Wars.”

A bipartisan group of dissenting lawmakers also said the bill takes away “local control” for school boards to determine much of what is taught in the classrooms.

The bill passed the House 76-16, after a more-than hour-long debate. There, a bipartisan coalition questioned the timing of the bill. They argued a bill needs more time to study the impacts it would have on classrooms, and not “rush it” through a special session. Attempts to slow the bill until a Spring Session failed. Supporters of the bill said the concern from parents made it a priority for the special session.

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