Bill prohibiting critical race theory in technical colleges, UW System schools passes Assembly committee

MADISON, Wis. — A bill that would prohibit technical colleges and University of Wisconsin System schools from teaching critical race theory passed along party lines Wednesday in the Assembly’s Committee on Colleges and Universities.

While Assembly Bill 413 does not refer to critical race theory by name, it does prohibit “instruction to students that promotes race or sex stereotyping in any course or as part of any curriculum.”

“Among the concepts that are prohibited to be taught under the bill are the following: that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex and that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by other individuals of the same race or sex,” the bill reads.

Schools that violate the bill could see 10% of their state aid withheld.

Supporters argue the bill does not prohibit teaching about racism that has happened in the past. Opponents, meanwhile, argue the bill stands against academic freedom.

“These are issues that must be discussed if we want progress as a community. If we shield our students from learning about racism, we are only shielding them from reality,” Rep. Shelia Stubbs, a Madison Democrat, said during Wednesday’s committee meeting.

Committee chair Rep. David Murphy (R-Greenville), one of the bill’s sponsors, argued in favor of it Wednesday.

“I believe that what it does say is I’m not guilty just because I’m white for past transgressions,” Murphy said.

The Wisconsin ACLU and the Technical College District Boards Association oppose the bill.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 409, was introduced in June. Similar legislation banning the teaching in K-12 schools cleared the Assembly in September.