News and Analysis

Wyoming Republicans Block Critical Race Theory Ban In Pre-K Through 12th Grade Schools

"The language was strong and unfortunately we were not able to get it done."
Empty Classroom In Elementary School.
(Photo By: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Wyoming’s majority-GOP House of Representatives failed to introduce a measure Thursday seeking to bar the teaching and training of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools — and Republicans who led the ban effort tell The Daily Wire it is unfortunate.

House Bill 97 required a two-thirds majority to move through the legislature. Thirty five lawmakers voted in support of it, while 24 did not. The proposal banned school employees, administrators, and teachers from using “public monies for instruction that presents any form of blame or judgement on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, color or national origin.”

Under the bill, teachers would be prohibited from teaching that any group is “inherently superior or inferior,” “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive,” that the United States is “systemically racist or sexist,” and more. CRT, a left-wing ideology, holds that white people are implicitly racist and that a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens must be used on an institutional level. It says racism is ingrained in America.

Republican Rep. Chuck Gray of Casper, who sponsored the bill, told The Daily Wire that race-based curricula is inconsistent with Wyoming values. “I think this bill would have handled that issue,” he said. “It would have banned it. The language was strong and unfortunately we were not able to get it done.”

Republicans who voted against the ban did not return calls from The Daily Wire, while Rep. Sandy Newsome, a Republican lawmaker representing the 24th district, denied in an interview that the measure relates to barring teachers relaying certain students are racist because of their race, sex, or ethnicity.

“That’s not what the bill addressed,” Newsome said, who declined to comment further when pressed about what she thinks the bill does address.

Democrats voted against the bill, taking issue with the offered idea of neutrality. “This bill … states the teaching of history must be neutral and without judgment,” said Rep. Andy Schwartz during arguments. “Now, how can that be possible?”

Gray, however, told Schwartz he was inaccurately representing the bill. He pointed to subsection C, which outlines how the law does not prevent the discussion of “otherwise controversial aspects of history,” but merely says history should be taught accurately and completely. He shares in the sentiment that things like the “1619 Project” that was created by a New York Times Magazine reporter are an arbitrary reading of history that should not be taught as fact.

“I feel that CRT destroys the truth of history and it pits different races against each other,” GOP Rep. Mark Jennings, who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement to The Daily Wire. “It erases the valuable lessons that can be learned from actual history.”

This is not the first time Republicans in Wyoming have sought to combat what they view as indoctrination in schools. Lawmakers in the Senate drafted a bill called the Civics Transparency Act in September 2021, which would require materials in school curricula be made public. The bill has not been introduced.

At least 12 states are considering transparency bills nationwide, as the clash between parents and school boards continues. The issue of race-based curricula in schools is something some educators in Wyoming feel is wrong.

One high school teacher, who spoke to The Daily Wire on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution, said that history must be taught correctly, but CRT distorts facts and offers matters through a political lens.

“The curricula tries to put certain racial groups into a bad light,” said the teacher, who has worked in Wyoming for 30 years. “We need to make sure what we are teaching is accurate. I don’t think it’s okay to encourage racism in any, way, shape, or fashion. I don’t think people need to apologize for things that were done five, six generations ago.”

Send story tips to Gabe Kaminsky at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Wyoming Republicans Block Critical Race Theory Ban In Pre-K Through 12th Grade Schools