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With over 600 school districts spanning the entire political spectrum, and with a distinct rural-urban divide, Ohio’s reaction to CRT curriculum is all over the map. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined 19 other attorneys general in a May, 2021 letter to federal Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona objecting to proposed rules favoring CRT focused applications in the grantmaking process. (source)

Parent protests of school board meetings have broken out across the state. Some school districts have embraced CRT, while others have banned it. The General Assembly has considered banning CRT statewide, but the two bills under consideration have not made it out of committee. Meanwhile, in October 2021, the state Board of Education repealed its anti-racism resolution, passed in 2020. The State Board of Higher Education has not created any statewide mandate to include CRT in college curricula. However, many public and private institutions across Ohio have jumped in with their own far-reaching initiatives.

K-12 Education

Some school boards have issued statements opposing bills banning CRT at the Ohio General Assembly. (source) Causing even more controversy was a 2020 statement issued by the state Board of Education in 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd. The resolution was repealed and replaced in October, 2021. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Resolution 20 became a lightning rod for the board:

The resolution quickly became a lightning rod in the debate over teaching about race in Ohio classrooms, drawing dozens of protesters and counterprotesters to state board meetings in recent months.

Opponents of Resolution 20 said its wording intentionally opened the door for districts to teach “disturbing” and “divisive” material about racism and identity. Lesson plans that went against America’s founding principles and divided kids into oppressors and the oppressed.

Board member Brandon Shea called it “a crisis in our nation and our country.”

So, he drafted Resolution 13 as a replacement.

Resolution 13 condemned “any standards, curriculum, or training programs for students, teachers, or staff that seek to ascribe circumstances or qualities, such as collective guilt, moral deficiency, or racial bias, to a whole race or group of people.” (source)

Multiple media reports indicate school board races across Ohio in November 2021 will garner significantly higher interest than normal, over controversies such as CRT in the schools, mask mandates for students, and comprehensive sex education.

Higher Education

While no statewide mandates exist directing Ohio colleges to require CRT training, many public and private schools have embraced such initiatives. Ohio State University made national headlines, for instance, when it was revealed in 2020 they employ over 100 diversity officers, most making annual salaries north of $90,000. (source)

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