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After lawmakers in Tennessee’s State House voted to ban schools from teaching divisive racial concepts this month, educators can’t decide whether to angrily pledge to defy the law or claim it was unnecessary because they were never doing such a thing. As the uproar over attempts to indoctrinate children has reached a fever pitch in numerous states, the education establishment has adopted the same approaches everywhere: Some trot out cagey denials based on semantics about “critical race theory.” Others double down, lamenting that banning divisive racial concepts would significantly change their jobs and deeming efforts to depoliticize schools as the latest example of oppression. The headline of a May 12 Nashville Tennessean news article seemed to paint parents and state lawmakers as conspiracy theorists. Education writer Meghan Mangrum relied on a spokesperson for the Tennessee State Board of Education as the foundation for the unqualified headline: “Critical race theory isn’t taught in Tennessee schools. Here’s what is being taught about race.”

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