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Rockwood Controversy Spurs GOP Push To Ban Critical Race Theory In Schools

An education bill introduced by Missouri House Republicans contains an amendment that has groups like the ACLU of Missouri and the Education Equity Center of St. Louis up in arms.

State Rep. Nick Schroer’s amendment to House Bill 1141 would prohibit schools from teaching critical race theory, which is a framework that provides a race-conscious approach to understanding inequality and structural racism. Under Schroer’s amendment, any curriculum that “identifies people, entities, or institutions as inherently, immutably, or systemically sexist, racist, biased, privileged, or oppressed” would be barred in schools.

The amendment — and its roots within a debate raging among teachers, administrators and parents within the Rockwood School District — is the subject of Tony Messenger’s latest column, “Missouri Republicans embrace racism and censorship in trying to ban the 1619 Project.”

How the Rockwood School District handles the debate is of particular interest to Messenger. As he notes in the column, his two youngest children have attended schools there, and his wife works for the district.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch metro columnist joined Sarah Fenske to discuss Missouri House Republicans’ attempt to prohibit educators from teaching the 1619 Project and critical race theory, and how the proposal is shaking things up within his St. Louis County school district.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Emily Woodbury joined the St. Louis on the Air team in July 2019. Prior to that, she worked at Iowa Public Radio as a producer for two daily, statewide talk programs. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science. She got her start in news radio by working at her college radio station as a news director. Emily enjoys playing roller derby, working with dogs, and playing games – both video and tabletop.