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Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who has promised during his campaign to back teachers, said that teachers should have the autonomy to decide on what “version of history” is taught in a classroom, according to footage highlighted Wednesday.
“We don’t need to tell [a teacher] what version of history she is allowed to teach in a classroom. We don’t need to scare the parents of those kids… about something called CRT (critical race theory) that I’ve never heard of before last year,” O’Rourke said.
Critical race theory has been a flashpoint in U.S. politics for parents, some of whom have organized around the country against the topic being taught in schools.
Republican politicians, including O’Rourke’s opponent – Gov. Greg Abbott – have legislated bans on CRT for K-12 schools. Abbott signed a bill into law last year that stipulated how educators can teach U.S. history.
“What if we treated that teacher with the respect that she has earned, that she is owed, that we all want to give,” O’Rourke said.
Throughout his campaign, he has stressed that he stands with teachers.
“Instead of attacking teachers, I’ll be a governor who has their backs,” O’Rourke said in June.
In a comment to Fox News Digital, the campaign said, “As governor, Beto will fully fund our Texas schools and fully support Texas students, parents, and teachers after years of Greg Abbott underfunding our classrooms and calling for defunding public education.”
“Beto does not say ‘parents’ shouldn’t tell schools what to teach,” the campaign added.
CRT pedagogy holds that America is a systemically racist country and pushes a narrative of oppressor versus oppressed. A scholar named Richard Delgado, who wrote “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” describes the U.S. “system of race” as having two sides.
One “consists of outright racism—the oppression of some people on grounds of who they are,” Delgado said. The other side “consists of white privilege—a system by which whites help and buoy each other up.”
Opponents of the CRT bans claim that Republicans are trying to avoid including instruction about the true history of America. Liberal pundits like MSNBC’s Joy Reid have gone so far as to claim that Americans opposing CRT in schools are racist.
The topic was also a critical point of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s campaign against Democrat Terry McAullife.
Youngkin vowed to take a bold stance against critical race theory from schools, while McAullife said that parents should not tell “schools what they should teach.”
An opinion article at the Washington Post written by a Youngkin voter described McAullife’s statement as belonging within the “Hall of Fame of Political Blunders.”