There is much wrong with New Hampshire House Bill 544, currently attached to state budget legislation. It would supposedly stop the propagation of such divisive concepts as “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) in public classrooms or in private work spaces.
We can understand the concerns of those backing the bill. CRT is all about teaching children, and adults, that their “Whiteness” is a bad thing and that White people are, by definition, racists.
Writing for National Review, attorney Samantha Harris warns that, “We need to fight the rise of this toxic and destructive orthodoxy if we want America to be a place where, as Martin Luther King said, our children are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.”
But, Harris writes, “we have to fight it in the right way, without compromising the very freedoms we seek to preserve.”
That seems to be what concerns Gov. Chris Sununu in opposing the bill.
“When you are down the path of banning what we are going to be talking about, what one side bans one year about the left can lead to banning what’s said from the right a year later.”
Sununu said there is no place for Critical Race Theory in school but he says state law already prevents any such topic in our schools that are “discriminatory in nature.” Really? The governor needs to spell that out.
Harris concedes that proponents of CRT have every right to argue for their positions. But that doesn’t mean, she says, “that they have the right to indoctrinate our children, or to create a hostile environment in which students or teachers are continually treated as ‘less than’ on the basis of skin color. When these things happen — and they are happening — then we must fight back hard not only in the court of public opinion, but in courts of law as well.”
New Hampshire parents and school boards need to make sure that CRT is not being taught as fact in our schools. Meanwhile, legislators and the governor may want to get together to revise HB 544 along lines that Florida is considering.
A bill there would require higher education “to conduct an annual assessment related to intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity,” to ensure that students are exposed to “a variety of ideological and political perspectives.”
New Hampshire could widen that to all public schools, helping assure, Harris writes, that “the marketplace of ideas function properly rather than shutting it down.”