Tennessee bans teaching critical race theory in schools

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FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions after he spoke to a joint session of the legislature at the start of a special session on education, in Nashville, Tenn. Lee on Friday, May 5 echoed arguments in favor of a bill that would restrict what concepts on institutional racism can be taught in school, saying students should learn “the exceptionalism of our nation,” not things that “inherently divide” people. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is the latest state to ban teachers from talking about certain aspects of race and racism in public schools.

Teachers risk losing valuable state funding if they violate the new measure.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law Monday after it generated impassioned debates inside the GOP-controlled General Assembly. Lee argued that students should learn about “the exceptionalism of our nation,” not things that “inherently divide” people.

Black Democratic lawmakers warned that it will make teachers fearful about telling students anything about how race and racism have shaped the nation’s history.

Tennessee’s new law is similar to laws enacted in Idaho and Oklahoma.

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