D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton announced the introduction of the Combating Implicit Bias in Education Act, which would create a $30 million grant program for schools to train teachers, principals and other personnel on implicit bias.
The venerable Democrat said the program would cover both actual and perceived biases based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
“Study after study confirms that the effects of implicit bias can be seen in school discipline and academic achievement,” Norton said.
Under Norton’s proposal, the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education would be tasked with evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of the training.
“As Republican-led states try to stop the teaching of the role of race in American history – in their words, critical race theory – this bill is more important than ever,” Norton said. “It would give school districts the right tools to address this bias. Every student deserves the opportunity and support to succeed in school, and my bill will help address these harmful biases.”
A recent hot-button issue regarding race is the teaching in schools of critical race theory, which examines how racism is intertwined in U.S. social institutions such as the education and criminal justice systems.
Author, political commentator and New York Times columnist Charles Blow noted that Republicans are making critical race theory “the new Shariah Law.”
Blow cited the rise of GOP-led legislation and prohibition against teaching about Black history in schools have caused undue controversy about topics such as the slave trade, the holocaust and other racial atrocities.
“What they are really banning is the teaching of the horrific history of white supremacy and how it spawned the oppression of nonwhite people,” Blow wrote in an editorial.
He noted that critical race theory isn’t taught in grade school.
“But that was never the point, in the same way that in the 2010s conservative lawmakers were never really concerned about what they called the threat of Shariah law in the United States when they introduced bills to ban it in American courts; what they wanted was to advance a racist, Islamophobic agenda,” Blow wrote.