An Oklahoma law meant to protect fragile white psyches from facing the reality of bigotry is being put to the test.
The Oklahoma State Board of Education punished two school districts for trainings apparently deemed too injurious to white kids and teachers.
The board voted 4-2 to lower the status of Tulsa Public Schools to 'accredited with warning' on Thursday after the State Department of Education determined an implicit bias training for teachers in August 2021 violated House Bill 1775. The law, which restricts discussions of race and sex in public schools, is widely seen as targeting critical race theory. The state investigation began after a complaint from a teacher who has not been publicly identified, according to the Oklahoman.
As with the Oklahoma law, Republicans across the country have been targeting virtually any lessons addressing social inequality, decrying them as harmful to students and often mislabeling them as “critical race theory” to rile up their base.
The complaint against Tulsa Public Schools involved a training video in which teachers were advised to be “aware of our own inherent biases, as well as historical biases against minorities," according to The Oklahoman.
That passing mention was apparently so traumatizing to the educator, identified by Public Radio Tulsa as right-wing activist and science teacher Amy Cook, that she filed a complaint saying some of the training materials “shame white people for past offenses in history.” She apparently needs to be reminded that nonwhite people have feelings, too.
Oklahoma’s education board also demoted Mustang Public Schools to “accredited with warning” after the district accused one of its teachers of making students “feel uncomfortable” during an anti-bullying exercise. As part of that lesson, students were reportedly asked whether they've experienced or engaged in discrimination or bullying.
In light of this news, is there any question how it is that Oklahoma routinely ranks among the worst educated states in the country? The choice to punish schools for offending petulant white educators and coddled white kids suggests racist indoctrination — not education — is a priority for the state’s officials.