Earlier this year, the Alabama Legislature fell short of passing a so-called "divisive concepts" bill, which would have, in theory, limited concepts like Critical Race Theory in public school classrooms and state institutions.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" earlier this week, State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), who sponsored the legislation in the Alabama Senate, said the bill would return in 2023.
"Absolutely, that's one of the big ticket items that I continue to think we need to address," he said. "It doesn't go away just because the session is over with. Another thing that goes hand in hand with that is parental choice as it relates to where your child will be educated and how your child will be educated. Those two kind of meld together. I mean, you take a kid that is in a failing school district, and the parents, for whatever reason, can't move and can't afford to move. Their job is located there. You're in a catch-22. I realized with my five, all of them learned differently. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching kids, and certainly, I think parents know what their children's needs are better than anyone else's or at least should."
"Parental choice goes hand and hand with what's been termed the 'CRT bill,'" Barfoot continued. "It's interesting that that bill didn't use the words 'critical race theory.' It's divisive concepts, and if you'll remember, during the debate and discussion last year in the committee – really, I don't think any of the committee members objected to the bill itself. I think there was a comment by one of the members that, 'Well, it just doesn't seem right.' I don't know who could be against those divisive concepts. We shouldn't be teaching those concepts in our classrooms that one race or sex is superior to the other. You will see that bill again, and we'll see what movement we can get out of it this year."
The Montgomery County lawmaker responded to critics of the bill who say it could limit how or what teachers can teach in their classrooms.
"That 'leave it to the experts,' i.e., the government is part of the reason that we're in because we don't take the personal responsibilities," Barfoot explained. "We cede that authority to others when it is our responsibility as parents to make sure children are educated. And, by the way, there's the thought process, 'Well, we're not teaching it. It's not in the curriculum.' My mother was a teacher, and I can assure you there is the curriculum, and then there is what individual teachers do teach. So, to say it's not happening is not the case. And by the way, not only was my mom a teacher, she was a history teacher. There are those who said, 'This will not allow teachers to teach history.' No, absolutely not. Teach history – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is lots of all of that we need to make sure kids understand history. We need to make sure we don't repeat certain things. We don't shy away from the bad. Teach it, but teach it in the context of accurate facts and not to shame someone that they are any worse or less of a person because of their race or their sex."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.