RALEIGH, N.C. - This afternoon, the N.C. House of Representatives passed HB 324, legislation that would prevent students from having open and equitable conversations about our country’s history and culture by restricting lessons about race and gender in the classroom. The North Carolina bill follows a national trend to put a chilling effect on what educators are willing to share in the classroom. According to the Brookings Institution, eight states (Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, and South Carolina) have passed similar legislation and “nearly 20 additional states have introduced or plan to introduce similar legislation” (see The Brookings Institution. Appendix: Legislative and administrative actions regarding CRT).
Like similar legislation moving across the country, HB 324 restricts curriculum content and limits the use of school resources to compensate speakers addressing diversity, white supremacy, racism, and sexism. The bill now advances to Governor Cooper. The ACLU of North Carolina strongly condemns this legislation in defense of North Carolina’s students, who deserve welcoming environments and comprehensive, factual curricula.
Chantal Stevens, executive director for the ACLU of North Carolina, issued the following statement after the N.C. House gave HB 324 final legislative approval:
“Decades of research have demonstrated that culturally relevant and responsive teaching enhances students’ academic performance and preparedness to enter an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. State lawmakers are flouting the well-being of students and irreparably damaging our democracy by enabling biased government intrusion into the classroom.
“This bill would impede teachers’ ability to acknowledge and lead discussions on the values, cultures, and histories that have informed our current cultural moment. Our students are immersed in media depicting cultural conflicts, violence against women, and racism; they deserve to have informed, open, and honest discussions in our educational environments.
“Every one of our students, and our society at large, benefits from a comprehensive educational experience where students develop skills to integrate information presented from a variety of sources. HB 324 is a threat to equitable education, and will disproportionately impact students of color, young girls, and LGBTQ+ students by telling them that their experiences are not worthy of inclusion in their curricula. We strongly urge Governor Cooper to veto this bill to protect open discourse in the classroom.”