Featured Image

LITTLE ROCK (LifeSiteNews) — Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a new law Wednesday to formally prohibit Critical Race Theory (CRT) and LGBT indoctrination in the state’s public schools.

Senate Bill 294, the LEARNS Act, bans the use of materials that “indoctrinate students with ideologies such as Critical Race Theory,” in addition to increasing teachers’ starting salaries to $50,000 and establishing an “education freedom account,” i.e., a voucher program, for parents to choose to send their children to private schools or pursue homeschooling, among other reforms.

“Steps required under subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall include the review of the rules, policies, materials, and communications of the Department of Education to identify any items that may, purposely or otherwise, promote teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as ‘CRT’, that conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law or encourage students to discriminate against someone based on the individual’s color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law,” the law says.

“The secretary shall amend, annul, or alter the rules, policies, materials, or communications that are considered prohibited indoctrination and that conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law,” it continues.

The LEARNS Act also establishes that “a public school teacher shall not provide classroom instruction on the following topics: (1) Sexually explicit materials; (2) Sexual reproduction; (3) Sexual intercourse; (4) Gender identity; or (5) Sexual orientation” before the fifth grade.

Sanders calls the new law “the boldest, most far-reaching, most conservative education reforms in the country,” and a “blueprint” for the rest of the United States, CBS affiliate THV 11 reports.

Sanders, the former press secretary for former President Donald Trump and the daughter of former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, was elected in last fall’s midterm elections and marked her first day in office in January by issuing an executive order removing CRT from public education; the LEARNS ACT codifies that action in state law.

CRT is a divisive academic doctrine that holds race is a “socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color,” and that “racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.”

Sanders has made education a cornerstone of her plans for Arkansas, having previously declared that ​​”as long as I am governor, our schools will focus on the skills our children need to get ahead in the modern world — not brainwashing our children with a left-wing political agenda.”

Arkansas is one of more than a dozen states to have imposed laws or executive actions restricting CRT in public schools, and one of 35 to have enacted or proposed legislation on the subject. The issues of CRT and LGBT indoctrination in taxpayer-funded education have in recent years fueled a parent backlash that has been credited with Republican gains in states like Florida and Virginia, whose current respective governors have taken leading roles on the issue.