Political Rewind: Back-to-school with the divisive concepts bill; How are our teachers doing?

The panel

Donna Lowry, @donnalowrynewscough, GPB’s Lawmakers
Kevin Riley, @ajceditoreditor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Nicole Carr, @NicoleFCarrreporter, ProPublica
Because Tagami, @Ty_Tagamistate education reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The breakdown

1. What is “Critical Race Theory”?

  • Critical Race Theory is a college-level theory that suggests systematic racism is built into institutions like the legal and education systems.
  • GPB News’ Donna Lowry notes that K-12 students are not learning Critical Race Theory in the classroom.

2. The state legislature passed SB 377 this past May, which banned teaching “divisive concepts” and implemented what they call a “parent’s bill of rights”.

  • ProPublica’s Nicole Carr notes that parents have always had recourse in their children’s schools. The bill largely legislates over an issue that had been settled.
  • The AJC’s Ty Tagami says teachers in different areas will teach issues like slavery and the Holocaust differently.
    • He also notes the bill bans teachers from “advocating” divisive concepts, which he says was never clearly defined.

Because Tagami breaks down the differences between those two bills.

3. Per the New York Timesstudents are falling behind in math and reading after the pandemic closed schools.

  • Teacher burnout, shortages in the workforce, and falling test scores are more prevalent.
  • Donna Lowry says culture war issues like the battle over divisive concepts detract from getting teachers the resources they need.

4. Georgia’s elections could determine the direction of public education.

  • While GOP nominee and current superintendent Richard Woods and Democratic nominee Alisha Thomas Searcy might agree on policy, they are divided along party lines on issues like the divisive concepts bill.
  • In the race for US Senate, Sen. Tim Scott endorsed Herschel Walker, implying he’d give more power to parents in classrooms.

5. Discourse that targets teachers impacts their lives. A Cherokee County educator was chased out of town and harassed.

  • When Cecelia Lewis was forced to move from Cherokee to Cobb County, Cherokee residents alerted parents in Cobb to continue harassing her. She ultimately left her position in Cobb.

Nicole Carr breaks down the Cherokee County saga.

Friday on Political Rewind: Mary Margaret Oliver joins the panel.

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