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District 49 board member Dave Cruson advises caution regarding a resolution to ban the teaching of critical race theory during a June 10 board meeting. "The question I ask in my world is, 'What does this mean'," Cruson said. “I need further understanding. I think we all do.” 

School District 49’s board of education appears poised to vote on a resolution that would ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in its schools.

According to a copy of the draft resolution obtained by The Gazette, the measure declares an “official opposition to the use of critical race theory and other race-based training, curricula, and methodology in public education.” The 25,000-student district, with its headquarters in Falcon, includes a rapidly growing swath of eastern Colorado Springs.

In a June 10 meeting, the board discussed drafting a formal decree of its opposition to the teaching of the theory in its classrooms, arguing that it creates divisiveness by portraying members of a certain ethnic group as oppressors, and another as the oppressed.

District 49 proposal would ban teaching of 'critical race theory'

Board president John Graham said at the meeting that the theory “runs counter to our district cultural compass.” Board member Ivy Liu said it teaches that America is a racist country that only offers opportunities to a select, privileged section of its population.

In general, critical race theory is not directly taught to students in K-12 schools, according to Colorado College associate professor Manya Whitaker. It is more of a teaching tool that helps fill some of the holes in standard American history instruction, and is designed to show how America’s racial past connects to its present, she said.

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“It’s about power: Who has the power, how did they get it, how do they use it and who is affected by the way it is used,” Whitaker said. 

The draft of the resolution, which is dated July 8, states, “Pertinent instruction regarding history of racism and inequality in America should not purport to deliberately undermine race groups, student/family values, religious beliefs, or founding principles.”

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It goes on to say that public school teachers are not allowed to offer their personal opinions “in any areas of faith, civil rights, economics, international affairs, sociology, or politics.”

District 49’s “Culture Overview,” as stated on its website, is designed to help create an environment that ensures “everyone associated with the district is always learning, working, and leading us to be the best.”

The resolution states that the district may not utilize race as a basis for hiring, evaluations, classroom assignments, or shaping curricula.

The board's next regular meeting was scheduled for Thursday, according to its website.

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