Senate Outlaws Federal Spending for Teaching Critical Race Theory

Senate Outlaws Federal Spending for Teaching Critical Race Theory tom cotton speaks in hearing Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 22, 2021. (DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 11 August 2021 11:47 AM

The Senate has voted to pass an amendment in the $3.5 billion budget reconciliation passage that bans federal funds from being used to teach critical race theory (CRT) in schools.

The Senate approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution early Wednesday, setting the stage for the party to craft an economic package in the weeks to come. Sen. Tom Cotton's amendment was part of the resolution.

The Arkansas Republican introduced the Stop CRT Act last month to prevent federal tax dollars from being used to teach the theory in pre-K programs and K-12 classrooms. The Senate approved Cotton’s amendment 50-49 in a late-night session.

"They want to teach our children that America is not a good nation but a racist nation," Cotton said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. "Those teachings are wrong, and our tax dollars should not support them," said Cotton, referring to CRT as an "un-American ideology."

"My amendment will ensure that federal funds aren’t used to indoctrinate children as young as pre-K to hate America. Our future depends on the next generation of kids loving America and loving each other as fellow citizens, no matter their race."

CRT is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies, according to Education Week.

Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.

"Sadly, today some want to replace our Founding principles with an un-American ideology called critical race theory," Cotton said. "They want to teach our children that America is not a good nation but a racist nation. Those teachings are wrong and our tax dollars should not support them."

Cotton noted that that 30 schools in 15 states have assigned the CRT-inspired book "Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness," that depicts "whiteness" as the devil. He said that Head Start, a federally funded pre-K program had previously hosted anti-racist webinars, the New York Post reported.

Proponents of CRT argue that it can eliminate systemic racism because it looks at the ways race has influenced U.S. law and culture. The fight over CRT in schools has escalated in the U.S. over the last year.

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