Legislators haven’t given up on a bill to set limits on how schools teach about racism.
President Pro Tem Rod Bray said last week there was “no path forward” after discussions on how to revise the bill. But House Speaker Todd Huston says the House is still working on changes to its own version, with an eye to bringing it to the floor by Thursday’s deadline. Bray says if the House passes it, the Senate will take a second look.
The bills are part of a backlash against critical race theory, directing schools not to tell students they should feel “discomfort or guilt” based on their race. The House has added language trying to defuse a national uproar over Senator Scott Baldwin’s (R-Noblesville) comment in a hearing on the Senate bill that teachers should be “impartial” even when discussing Nazism.
Cook’s current version says citizenship instruction already required under state law should teach Constitutional “ideals and values” in comparison to other forms of government incompatible with those values. He’s said that gives teachers plenty of room to explain the evils of Nazism and racism.
The bill also requires schools to post their curriculum and a list of classroom materials online. Bray says if legislators focus on transparency and parental involvement, that may address the concerns that prompted the bills to be introduced in the first place. He notes the House has already addressed one major concern raised by education groups, deleting a requirement to upload not only the curriculum but teachers’ daily lesson plans. Teachers warned that would create a huge burden of extra work and limit their ability to respond to current events.