Legislative bills could shape how race, racism and political ideologies are taught in Indiana classrooms

ABC21 News at 5
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:38 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Several Republican lawmakers are backing bills this legislative session seeking to ban K-12 schools from teaching about white privilege or teaching that the United States was founded as a racist or sexist nation.

On Monday, a House Education Committee solicited testimony about House Bill 1134 which would require schools to post lesson plans on the school’s Internet site and would allow parents of students to ‘opt out’ of certain educational activities that they don’t want their children exposed to. Critical Race Theory is not specifically mentioned in any of the language, but some GOP lawmakers are interested in limiting instruction that might suggest a particular sex, race or ethnicity is oppressive, or in their minds, skews what happened in our nation’s past.

“What I would like to drive home is the idea that we (teach) accurate history. That parents have the opportunity to see what that curriculum looks like, and vet that curriculum, potentially opt out if they’re uncomfortable,” said Representative Martin Carbaugh from Fort Wayne, a member of the House Education Committee.

Leaders of the Indiana State Teachers Association say controlling what’s taught about our nation’s history on subjects like racism could add workload to already burdened teachers and lead to young people repeating mistakes made by others who came before them.

“You don’t make your country better, you don’t make your locality better without knowing the history of what has gone before,” said Steve Brace, a long-time leader of the Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers union, who now is a Uniserv Director for the state teachers association.

At least one other bill under consideration at the Statehouse would require students be taught “socialism, Marxism, communism...or other similar political systems are incompatible with...the principles of freedom upon which the United States was founded”.

Bills dealing with these controversial subject matters cannot become law without approval from both the House and Senate prior to conclusion of this legislative session in March.

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