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Tulsa school board president asks state to reverse accreditation warning over HB 1775 violation

In a letter to Oklahoma’s State Board of Education, Tulsa Public Schools board president Stacey Woolley is saying the district hasn’t violated state law and is asking for a reversal of an accreditation warning.

Tulsa and Mustang Public Schools became the first Oklahoma school districts to face consequences for Oklahoma’s so-called Critical Race Theory ban, during a late July meeting.

The districts were given an accreditation warning for violating Oklahoma’sHouse Bill 1775, a controversial law governing the teaching of racial and sexual concepts.

In the letter to the state board members, Woolley asked for them to change her district’s accreditation status.

Wooley wrote she believed the State Department of Education erred in even determining a violation of House Bill 1775 occurred.

She says implicit bias training - for which the district was reported - does not actually violate the letter nor spirit of the law.

“Implicit bias, which appears to be the issue at hand, is not about a person’s bias that is informed or inherent in their race, sex or other inherited trait,” Woolley wrote. “It is solely about one’s lived experiences and how those experiences shape their view of the world. It is how we generalize behaviors and stereotypes that we experience in our own environment. This is not what the bill or your resultant rules claim to prohibit.”

It’s unlikely the state board will do anything in response. The Tulsa World - which first reported the letter - wrote state officials have not reversed an accreditation deficiency mid-year in recent memory.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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