MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly plans to vote next week on a Republican bill that would prohibit public schools from teaching students and training employees about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias.
A Republican-controlled Assembly committee on Wednesday approved the bill on a party line vote. It is slated to be taken up by the full Assembly on Tuesday. The measure likely faces a veto by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, a former state schools superintendent.
The bill is part of a nationwide push among conservatives to ban the teaching of critical race theory, which argues that racism is an inherent feature of the nation’s social structures and policies.
Co-author, Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego, said the bill follows concerns raised by parents over materials being taught to their children in primary and secondary schools. A similar Republican-authored bill would prohibit critical race theory concepts from being taught in universities and technical colleges.
Dr. Frank King Jr., associate professor of ethnic studies at UW-Platteville, said topics surrounding critical race theory, which have been around for decades, are almost entirely nonexistent in the UW System outside of law school and graduate courses.
Opponents criticized the measure as an attempt to strip local control from school districts and one that completely misinterprets the concept of critical race theory.
A Senate higher education committee held an informational hearing Wednesday on critical race theory. Two of the speakers were from conservative groups who framed critical race theory as one that makes whiteness synonymous with racism and oppression.