LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed eight executive orders during her first two days in office. One signed during her first day has drawn interest from Arkansans in the education field.
The executive order is intended, “to prohibit indoctrination and critical race theory in public schools.” Sanders said the order is the first part of a goal to reform the education system in Arkansas.
“We’re making sure that our schools and education system are actually focusing on teaching our kids versus indoctrinating them,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the measure is intended to protect Arkansas children.
“Things like critical race theory, discrimination and indoctrination have no place in our classrooms,” Sanders said.
New Department of Education Commissioner Jacob Oliva said Thursday that the executive order is “preventative.”
“We need to make sure we’re not creating opportunities for personal beliefs or biases to be entering into a classroom through some form of indoctrination,” Oliva said. “Step one for us will be to review policies, procedures, curriculum to see if these practices are happening, and then we have the tool to stand behind any authority we may need to take to provide additional guidance.”
An Arkansan who has been teaching in public schools for 12 years said he would speak on the condition of anonymity.
“It’s so farfetched that it’s really hard to formulate a rational response,” the teacher said.
The teacher said any type of insidious learning system would be rooted out quickly, as it would be impossible to keep it hidden. He said most teachers would not agree to purposely indoctrinate children.
“I have never been in a meeting where they said, ‘All right, we’re going to teach these kids to make them think this way,'” the teacher said.
The teacher said he first learned about critical race theory, a graduate-level instruction found in some law school courses, from concerned parents who had been told it was a problem.
“I was like, ‘Well, I’ll have to get back with you, because I’ve never even heard this term,'” the teacher said. “‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”
The teacher said he agrees with Sanders’ support for expanded pre-K, school choice/school voucher programs and increased teacher pay.
“I’m an optimist, so I’d like to think good things will happen,” the teacher said.
The teacher said he hopes the governor focuses on these issues rather than one that does not exist.
“We don’t need to create nonexistent problems,” the teacher said. “Just focus on the real problems.”