“I find it outrageous,” Some Oklahoma educators have strong objections to new law on how race is taught in school

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – HB1775 was met with great debate from both sides before Governor Kevin Stitt signed it into law on Friday. Now many educators are speaking out, saying they don’t know exactly what it means or how it will affect curriculum.

“I don’t understand what fear they were chasing down with this bill,” said Dr. Rick Cobb.

The Superintendent of Mid-Del schools say he doesn’t know exactly how the new law will effect his district and teachers. Cobb says the term “critical race theory” that supporters have used when talking about what would be outlawed is never actually mentioned or defined in the bill.

“I think the bill is going to create a lot of confusion for teachers that don’t want to get in trouble for something that is not well defined,” said Cobb.

“The bill was written very clearly based on your race or your sex you are not inherently racist or sexist,” said Representative Kevin West. 

The Republican from Moore is one of the law’s co-authors. He says the people he has talked to say it’s a problem in Oklahoma schools.

“It is disheartening to see that they are misrepresenting the bill,” said West.

“I find it outrageous, very angering, very disappointing that we have passed this bill that has made it difficult for us to do the work that we absolutely need to do,” said Dr. Karlos Hill.

The Chair for the African American Studies program at OU pointing out that the law doesn’t affect his curriculum as he teaches racial history at OU, but it does take away a mandate to require gender and diversity training for all university students.

“It’s a huge distraction in a year where the state of Oklahoma, the city of Tulsa is doing this very thing we are trying to have conversations about the Race Massacre,” said Hill.

Speaking of, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission is slated to have a meeting of their commissioners today at 5:30 p.m. On their agenda, the status of Governor Kevin Stitt, who currently sits on their board, but signed the bill into law.

“I think 1775 was the cherry on top, right, that was something including the commission asked him to veto. He did it anyway. That slap in the face is one I don’t think he should be able to come back from in context of serving as a commissioner,” said Rep. Monroe Nichols of Tulsa and Tulsa Race Massacre Board Member.

It’s up to State Department of Education to come up with rules and enforcement for the law. The OKC Public School Board is slated to talk about HB1775 and how it will affect the state’s largest district tonight at their board meeting.

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