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Debate begins on Ohio’s critical race theory ban bills

Critical race theory is part of a scholarly movement that proposes examining U.S. history and modern society on the legacy of slavery, racism and discrimination.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A debate over teaching the role of racism in American history will be highlighted as a committee weighs two bills before Ohio legislators that would prohibit such instruction.

Teaching that focuses on the effect of racism on society would be prohibited in Ohio’s K-12 classrooms under a pair of bills introduced by Republican state lawmakers in May that are similar to legislation introduced nationwide by GOP lawmakers.

Critical race theory is part of a scholarly movement that proposes examining U.S. history and modern society through a focus on the legacy of slavery, racism and discrimination.

Conservatives have been focusing on the theory as a way to oppose classroom efforts to discuss topics related to race and racism, even though the theory has been around since the 1970s.

The pushback became stronger after the reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.

Neither Ohio bill uses the phrase critical race theory, though Jones criticized the concept by name in a news release. 

The two bills do not use the phrase critical race theory, but Ohio Rep. Don Jones, who introduced the second bill, criticized the concept by name in a news release.

Critics say it proposes that the United States is a fundamentally racist country. 

Extensive testimony was expected during a Wednesday hearing.

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