As we reported a few days ago, part of the text of Senate Bill 5044 signed by Gov. Inslee reads as follows:

"The legislature plans to continue the important work of dismantling institutional racism in public schools and recognizes the importance of increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, and cultural competency training throughout the entire public school system by providing training programs for classified staff, certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, superintendents, and school directors that will be provided in an ongoing manner.”

The bill is referred to as the "critical race theory" bill by many GOP legislators and opponents.  While it does NOT currently employ any curriculum in the classroom or specific student-aimed programs, critics say it lays the groundwork for that potential in the future. CRT says society is inherently racist, there is no such thing as "non-racist" policies, and some proponents of it believe non-minorities are 'born racist'  and don't even know it.  It's that kind of approach.  CRT it appears to go hand-in-hand with Gov. Inslee's frequent use of what he calls the "equity lens."  It's why he created an Office of Equity, which received funding during this legislative session and will now go into effect.

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The original bill, introduced in January 2021 during the legislative session, contained more sections than what was finally passed. The Washington Policy Center laid out what was in the original bill in an article.

According to the WPC, Senate Bill 5044:

"...would introduce a training curriculum based on racial discrimination in public education by requiring school board members, district staff and teachers to recognize they have created “institutional racism in the public school system.”

Two of the three Districts in the Tri-Cities have responded to our request, which asked if this would be implemented, and if so, how would it be carried out in our schools.

Kennewick School District responded with this statement:

“This legislation is focused on staff training in the areas of cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. There is no mention of critical race theory in the legislation. We are waiting for more information from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) about staff training requirements. To clarify, this legislation is focused on staff training, not curriculum. We do not teach critical race theory in our schools and it is not part of our district curriculum.”

And Richland responded with this information:

"There is no specific curriculum or training program called for in the legislation. "

That does answer our question, somewhat. However, referring back to the bill itself, most of the 'targeting' is done via the teachers and educators. It appears, and we shall see going forward, if or what effect this has on how lessons and curriculum are implemented in our area schools.

We have yet to hear a reply from the Pasco School District.


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