Every governor in America should decline funds from the Department of Education meant to support the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools, former South Carolina governor and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday.
“Governors can decide this. They decide which money they take from the Department of Education,” Haley told Fox News’ “America Reports”. “Don’t take this money. This will have effects that will go long-lasting into our kids.”
In April, the department released the text of a proposed rule prioritizing grants to American history and civics programs that “incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives.”
Critics have charged that the proposed rule encourages the teaching of critical race theory, which posits that racism and white supremacy are at the root of America’s laws and institutions. Parents and legislators opposed to teaching critical race theory in elementary and secondary schools argue that it encourages children to view each other in stark racial terms.
“Think about a 5-year-old that starts kindergarten and they don’t know anything about color,” she said. “If she’s white, you’re telling her she’s bad. If she’s brown or black, you’re telling her she’ll never be enough and she’ll always be a victim. That is harmful for the very well-being of our children.”
The former ambassador then recalled her own upbringing as a child of Indian immigrants in South Carolina.
“I mean, I remember getting teased on the playground when I was younger … and my mom would say, ‘Your job is to show them how you’re similar, not how you’re different,’” she said. “We don’t need to go and do what’s happening on college campuses now to our children in kindergarten.”
“They don’t need to be judged from the second they walk in the school,” Haley added. “They don’t need to be told which label they are when they walk into the school. We need to treat kids as the opportunities they’re going to be to fix America, not break them before they start.”
Several states led by Republican governors have passed legislation prohibiting critical race theory from being added to curricula, over the objection of teachers’ unions.
Last week, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten claimed that critical race theory was not being taught in American schools before vowing to defend any educator who does teach it.
“Let’s be clear: Critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools. It’s a method of examination taught in law school and college that helps analyze whether systemic racism exists — and, in particular, whether it has an effect on law and public policy,” she said. “But culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as CRT to try to make it toxic.”
Weingarten went on to accuse legislators of “bullying” teachers and “trying to stop us from teaching kids honest history,” suggesting that they were “trying to raise the temperature on race relations because of the next election.”