Kansas legislator to file bill banning teaching of Critical Race Theory

Jordan Meier

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A Kansas Senator has announced plans to file legislation that would ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the state of Kansas during the next legislative session.   

Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, announced last week that she would be prefiling a bill that would ban the teaching of the theory in all Kansas schools.  

“We need to make sure that race is not an issue,” Tyson said in a KSNT article. “People should not be judged by the color of their skin. They shouldn’t.” 

Tyson said she is filing her bill after many of her constituents have called with concerns about the teaching of CRT in schools, and in the wake of a national debate about the topic.  

KSNT said Tyson is looking for co-sponsors of the bill. She said that CRT goes against the state’s and nation’s values and is not what the country was founded on. 

“Not only this issue, but we also need to address the issue of socialism and communism, and it’s not being taught in our schools as to what those are, and how evil they can be,” she said, according to KSNT. “We need to understand the history so that we can move forward in a positive, productive manner.” 

In response to Tyson filing her bill, last week a spokesperson for the Kansas National Education Association, Marcus Baltzell, reportedly said that current attacks against the concept seem to be a “siren” or “conflation” of the subject by “ultra-conservatives” which are intended to spark a movement against the teaching of the theory. He told KSNT that no schools in the state are explicitly teaching the subject. 

“No one is teaching Critical Race Theory as a topic,” Baltzell said. “Instead, they’re teaching how issues of race have impacted our society.” 

This bill comes just weeks after leaked emails between two Pittsburg State University faculty members revealed that all six state universities were asked to evaluate what courses, if any, were teaching CRT by the State Board of Regents.  

That request apparently came from Sen. Brenda Dietrich, R-Topeka, who told the Topeka Capital-Journal that she reached out “to better understand the complexities of the issue given the national debate and a flurry of questions from her constituents.” 

Matt Keith, a spokesperson for the Board of Regents, reportedly said that "the Board office did not have the information Senator Dietrich requested, so we reached out to the six state universities to gather the information to respond.”  

Dietrich said she called Blaine Flanders, the Board of Regents president, for information on whether CRT was being taught at the universities.  

"If I had a question about unemployment, I go to the Department of Labor,” " Dietrich said. “It's just one of those things where as a legislator, if I don't know the answer, I've got to find somebody who does so that I make sure I'm answering my constituents' questions accurately and thoroughly.”