FRANKLIN, Tenn., Sept 21 (Reuters) – Robin Steenman, an Air Force veteran and white mother of three, is fed up with the way public schools in her community of Franklin, Tennessee are teaching kids about race.
She believes that the reading materials and teachers’ manuals are biased, specifically the lessons taught to second graders about civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Kids leave class believing that white people are oppressors and minorities are victims, Steenman claims.
While her only school-age child attends private school, Steenman nevertheless wants the public system, Williamson County Schools, to change its approach. She and a group of local women calling themselves “Moms for Liberty” recently asked the Tennessee Department of Education in a complaint letter to force the district to scrap that material and overhaul its curriculum.
Their protests have made Williamson County the first test of a new Tennessee law that bans the teaching of ideas linked to “critical race theory,” an academic framework that examines how racism has shaped American society.
The clash in Franklin, a Nashville suburb of 83,000 people, is part of a larger culture war over race and education that’s roiling other U.S. communities, and which has gained traction as a political force nationwide.
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