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South Carolina

South Carolina has joined the growing number of states placing restrictions on CRT in K-12 public schools. Three bills are still alive that would deal with various aspects of CRT. A budget proviso places limits on CRT through the school funding process. Some question remains as to how effective the budgetary restriction will be. See below for details. The state Superintendent of Schools and the Governor made statements in opposition of CRT in South Carolina schools. On the other hand, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) updated its public agenda for higher education, to use an “equity lens” that will lead to “equitable outcomes.”

K-12 Education

The Governor and the Superintendent of Schools have come out in opposition to CRT in public schools. (source: wbtw.com)

Many supporters of CRT have made the familiar claim that it is a college theory that is not taught in South Carolina schools. Reports have emerged showing otherwise:

As part of the critical race theory teachings sponsored by Pizza Hut and First Book, one South Carolina high school teacher was revealed telling students not to talk about the contents of her class outside of that class. (source: thepostmillennial.com)

House Bill 4325 in the 2021-22 legislative session, banning CRT in K-12 education, stalled in committee. However, a provision was inserted into the budget bill that restricts funding for any CRT and related lesson plans in South Carolina:

  • With the passing of the state budget, South Carolina joins 20 other states that have or are in the process of limiting the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, at least for the next year.
  • Under budget proviso number 1.105, no money given to schools and school districts can be used to teach concepts that show “an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” and “an individual should feel guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his race or sex.” (source: greenvilleonline.com)

United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) questions the effectiveness of the restrictions included in the budget, and notes they only last one year, through the budget cycle, calling it a “major loophole.” (source: uspie.blog)

Higher Education

H 4325 makes South Carolina stand out among states attempting to ban or restrict CRT, in that it also applies to colleges and universities, not just K-12. The South Carolina House delegation wrote a letter to the presidents of University of South Carolina and Clemson University, asking them to eradicate any classes that included CRT.

  • “These people who are complaining have probably never read the works and heard their arguments from secondary sources,” Bartley, the Clemson professor said. “Why didn’t the legislature do a study [on critical race theory] rather than have a knee-jerk response?”
  • But state lawmakers said they did their homework.
  • “The critical race theory is a theory, but it is being taught as a fact,” said Rep. Mike Burns, R-Greenville, who is a sponsor for H.4325 and H.4343. “They are dividing people along racial lines, socio-cultural lines. We need more unity, not division,” he said. (source: greenvilleonline.com)

The scrutiny from the legislature at the higher education level promises to become more acute. South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE) changed its public agenda document to include language calling for an “equity lens” when determining outcomes in higher education, and making it their goal to achieve “equitable outcomes” in higher education. (source: sc.gov)

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