RALEIGH (March 22, 2023) — As dozens of bills banning the teaching of “critical race theory” sweep the nation, we at the North Carolina Justice Center stand firmly against similar legislation that has passed the North Carolina House of Representatives.

House Bill 187—given the misleading name “Equality in Education”—is designed to discourage educators from teaching about the realities of racism and sexism in the United States. Teachers should be able to include in their lessons the lived realities of all Americans—including Native, Black, Latinx, Asian, and white—and provide all students with a full, honest accounting of our nation’s history.

“North Carolina’s teachers are dedicated and highly trained professionals, charged with creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere in the classroom,” said Reggie Shuford, Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Regardless of this bill’s intent, we trust them to teach and guide their students and continue to create space for honest conversations in the classroom that foster critical thinking skills and allow them to bring their lived experiences to these discussions. This bill is an attempt to distract from the central challenge facing our state’s public schools: decades of underfunding, which has only exacerbated inequality in educational opportunities.”

If enacted, the bill’s vague wording would sow confusion and likely scare teachers away from teaching at a time when our schools are already facing unprecedented challenges, including a severe teacher shortage. Legislative policing will harm students, worsen our dire teacher shortage, and move us further away from providing North Carolina’s children the quality education they are owed under our state’s constitution.