Tennessee Dems urge Lee not to sign bill banning critical race theory

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Posted at 7:43 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 09:13:59-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Democratic state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Bill Lee to veto legislation that would ban Tennessee public schools from teaching critical race theory, saying the bill restricts classroom discussions on racial inequities.

According to Tennessee Dems, Senate Bill 623, which passed the legislature in the final moments of session, prohibits public school lessons that incorporate critical race theory.

The Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus issued a statement Monday asking the governor to veto Senate Bill 623 and not sign it into law. State Democrats say it would have a “chilling effect on lessons exploring race-based oppression.”

“We cannot reconcile the promise of our principles and the reality of racism in our history if we do not talk about it. Our children deserve to learn the full story — the true story of the victories, the struggles, and the failings — so they can be prepared to contribute to a future for our nation, where liberty and justice are a reality for all of us,” the Senate Democratic Caucus said in a letter that was signed by all six members.

When asked his opinion on Monday, Gov. Lee signaled that he supports the legislation to restrict those lessons.

"What I'm most concerned about is our education system reminds students that history is important, civics is important, American exceptionalism is important. And that political commentary is not important when teaching our children. That's what this bill will accomplish,” Lee said.

According to CNN, critical race theory is a concept that looks to understand inequality and racism in the country, but it's also been politicized and attacked by critics who call it a Marxist ideology.