Communications & Public Affairs
July 14, 2021

Contact: State Rep. Jason Lowe
(405) 557-7367

Black Caucus Responds to CRT Rule Adopted by State School Board

OKLAHOMA CITY — Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after the Oklahoma State School Board voted to limit a public educator’s ability to teach on race and gender.

Rep. Jason Lowe, OLBC Chair, D-OKC:
“Limiting the ability of Oklahoma teachers and students to have thoughtful conversations about race and diversity opens up the door for us to repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot place the comfort of a few over the lived experiences of people of color, who have no choice but to face the ugly truth of bias and discrimination.

“To the board members who are responsible for the education of our students, does your decision to implement these rules make it more or less likely that the next generation of Oklahomans will be prepared to navigate an increasingly multicultural society?”

Rep. Monroe Nichols, OLBC Vice-Chair, D-Tulsa:
“After seeing the support for Oklahoma’s Black community during the centennial commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I felt some hope that we might be progressing as a state toward true equity.

“We cannot move forward until we better understand the past. This rule change is not only unnecessary but also dangerous. The children in our schools represent the state that we as adults are leaving behind. We should empower Oklahoma students to not repeat the atrocities that exist in history books and are still felt today but to end them. We start that process by teaching them why those atrocities exist. This rule hampers an educator’s ability to do that.”

Sen. George Young, Sr., D-OKC:
“I am very pleased that the discussion about HB 1775 is occurring and we are providing a milieu to have the discussion. The press release from the OK Senate last week uses the life of Harriet Tubman with the conclusion that ‘we must challenge evil wherever it hides.’ Well, the idea of not teaching our history as it has been lived is an evil that will continue to harm us if we refuse to teach our children how we got to this point. It is worth mentioning that OKCPS leadership was not in support of HB1775.

“The decision by the Oklahoma Board of Education gives me great pause, as this is not the message we want to send to our educators. I am greatly disappointed that leadership has decided their only recourse is to swiftly coordinate some new rules to satisfy a few. As leaders, we know that a hurried response never garners the best outcomes. Oklahoma is better than this.”

Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa:
“You can not legislate ‘feelings.’ This is a dangerous law and these concepts are not even being taught in any K-12 classroom course. Accurate, factual history regarding race and sex at times is uncomfortable, yet is worthy of learning. Some Republican legislators and some within the State Department of Education should not be a party to miseducation, nor stoking racial division.”