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Va. Legislator’s Mistake in Taking on Critical Race Theory

January 18, 2022

A Republican state legislator in Virginia is among the many who are proposing bills that would limit the teaching of critical race theory in schools or colleges. Delegate Wren Williams would bar school boards from supporting the teaching of critical race theory, or to “teach or incorporate into any course or class any divisive concept.” But as The New York Times noted, the proposed learning standards include “the founding documents of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, including Essays 10 and 51, excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States.”

Abraham Lincoln did not debate Frederick Douglass (the noted American abolitionist). He debated Stephen Douglas, a Democratic senator from Illinois.

“The gross mistake in this bill is indicative of the need to have scholars and teachers, not legislators/politicians, shaping what students at every level learn in the classroom,” said Caroline Janney, a professor of Civil War history at the University of Virginia.

Williams blamed the state’s Division of Legislative Services, which said it made the error.

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