News reports indicate the Nebraska Department of Education lists The 1619 Project on its website as a resource for public school teachers. (https://omaha.com/news/local/education/nebraska-teachers-union-defends-critical-race-theory-accuses-critics-of-censorship/article_05301c1a-ea44-11eb-8a1b-cf1567b633ab.html) Parents have protested local school board meetings across the state, and a non-scientific media poll in July 2021 showed respondents opposed the teaching of CRT in public schools by a 2-1 margin. (https://www.klkntv.com/poll-should-critical-race-theory-be-taught-in-nebraska-schools/) At the college level, member of the Board of Regents at the University of Nebraska introduced a resolution opposing the “imposition of CRT” into the curriculum. (https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/08/university-of-nebraska-board-of-regents-prepare-to-battle-over-critical-race-theory/)

K-12 Education

In response to parent protests and statements by Governor Pete Ricketts opposing CRT in public schools, the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) doubled down in its public support for teaching it. The Omaha World-Herald reported in July 2021 NSEA passed a resolution that it will:

Share information on CRT — what it is, and what it is not — and to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.”

Oppose “attempts to ban critical race theory and/or the 1619 Project.” The 1619 Project is a New York Times Magazine publication that attempted to reframe America’s birth as when the first ship arrived carrying enslaved Africans.

Convey that it’s “reasonable and appropriate for curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.

Join with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project to call for a rally this year on Oct. 14 — George Floyd’s birthday — as a national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression. The Zinn Education Project provides lessons and articles based on the book, “A People’s History of the United States” by liberal activist and democratic socialist Howard Zinn. (https://omaha.com/news/local/education/nebraska-teachers-union-defends-critical-race-theory-accuses-critics-of-censorship/article_05301c1a-ea44-11eb-8a1b-cf1567b633ab.html)

They further report: “Fourteen large and urban Nebraska school districts, including the Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island and Kearney districts and 10 other metro Omaha districts, in June told The World-Herald that they don’t teach CRT or the 1619 Project as part of their formal curriculum. The 1619 Project is listed on the Nebraska Department of Education website as a resource for the state’s educators.”

The Nebraska Department of Education website has an entire section devoted to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources: https://www.education.ne.gov/commissioner/equity/

Higher Education

Jim Pullen, a member of the Board of Regents for the University of Nebraska and a candidate for governor in 2022, introduced a resolution at the August 2021 board meeting opposing the imposition of CRT in the university curriculum. It failed on a 5-3 vote. (https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/08/u-nebraska-regents-rejects-resolution-calling-for-academic-freedom-from-critical-race-mandates/)The board is made up of 6 republicans and 2 democrats. The Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education does not have a centralized CRT mandate for Nebraska’s colleges and universities.

In November 2021, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln released its Commitment to Action Toward Its Journey, under the auspices of the Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equity:

“Individuals and stakeholder groups of the UNL community called for the institution to be more responsive to needs of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and the ways that structural racism might impede racial equity and perpetuate racism, marginalization, and erasure. Chancellor Green acknowledged that UNL had been asked to respond to these concerns in the past and wrote to the UNL community, “Now must be different. This cannot be another moment where we collectively rage at injustice, acknowledge pain and then take no meaningful action. We must take real steps to address racial inequities and a history of exclusion.” (source: https://journey.unl.edu/unl-commitment-action-toward-its-journey)

In response, Governor Ricketts said, “It will pit people against each other by conditioning everyone to see others through the lens of race rather than as individuals with unique strengths. I urged Chancellor Green to avoid divisive policies. Since then, Chancellor Green has misrepresented my position on it in conversations with university stakeholders. He has told people that I support it, and nothing could be further from the truth.” (source: https://omaha.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/ricketts-rebukes-unl-on-racial-equity-plan-singles-out-chancellor-green/article_cbb30bce-48c0-11ec-bcfa-e7b061feb76f.html)

Regent Pullen said, “The Board of Regents has not approved this so-called journey. To call Nebraska students and staff racist is wrong. To give preferential treatment in hiring based on race is wrong. The initiative violates the Nebraska Constitution and the Board of Regents bylaws. I believe that students and faculty should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. It is unacceptable that the Board of Regents was not informed about this journey plan until after the ink was dried. We must fight the crusade to implement Critical Race Theory.” (source: https://omaha.com/news/local/education/unl-releases-plan-for-addressing-institutional-racism-improving-diversity/article_49bb130a-4668-11ec-bc50-ef3c949631d1.html)