Ohio lawmakers debate critical race theory in House bills 322 and 327

How Ohio educators teach about racism, slavery and other "divisive concepts" will be up for debate on Wednesday.

But don't expect the hearing to go all night.

Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster, says his committee will spend about three hours on House bills 322 and 327 even though more than 250 people submitted written testimony.

"We are not voting on these bills (today)," Wiggam said. And people who don't get a chance to speak can come back next week. 

What the committee plans to do on Wednesday is listen. 

Opponents of critical race theory try to block a woman, center, as she yells, "Go home, racist!" to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel as he speaks during a protest against critical race theory curriculum in Ohio schools on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 outside the State Board of Education in Columbus, Ohio.

Supporters of these bills believe that a new way of teaching American history has entered Ohio's classrooms. It's dangerous and divisive, and its narratives go against the American dream. 

Supporters have latched on to the term "critical race theory" as a catchall for teaching about the role of race in history and society.

"It’s really based off of Marxism, and the fact that we should make those who have been successful feel that they have been privileged," Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, said when he introduced HB 322. "I think that’s an important thing to realize. We are looking for equality in opportunity, not equality in outcome."

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