Nebraska regents vote against condemning critical race theory

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

  • On Friday, the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents narrowly rejected a resolution denouncing the inclusion of critical race theory in curricula within the system.
  • In a 5 to 3 vote, the panel declined to endorse the statement developed by a Republican gubernatorial candidate. It stated the board opposed “any imposition” of the contentious concept in instruction.
  • While several state legislatures have moved to block critical race theory from classrooms, Friday’s vote represented the first high-profile attempt to do so at a college governing board level.

Dive Insight:

Many states have recently attempted to suppress the teaching of racism and bias, and a handful has succeeded.

But it was not clearly defined what would have changed within the Nebraska system due to the effort, which was driven by regent Jim Pillen, a candidate for governor.

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Critical race theory is an academic concept more than four decades old but recently has been widely attacked by conservatives. It, in part, contends racism is systemic, though its critics claim it fuels prejudice by enforcing racial divisions.

The concept began to attract more attention last year. Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order last fall prohibiting federal grantees from teaching certain ideologies, such as that the U.S. is inherently racist or sexist.

The campaign to eradicate it from the classroom then began to trickle down to conservative pundits and state legislators — and Pillen, who released his resolution last month.

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