Governor Reynolds signs bill banning “divisive concepts” in public education
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law banning the teaching of “divisive concepts” in Iowa public schools. The law would focus on ideas related to racism and sexism.
Supporters of the new law say it will help prevent division in our classrooms. Opponents say, however, that it is crucial that we learn from the past, including the institutionalized racism in our country, because that is how you learn from it.
Concepts of division are defined as indicating that “the United States of America and the State of Iowa are fundamentally or systematically racist or sexist”, that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, or that ‘a person may have unconscious biases based on their background. .
The law speaks of a “racial or sexual scapegoat,” which means “to attribute fault, blame or prejudice to a race or gender” based on their background, whether they are aware of it or not.
The Iowan Civil Liberties Union says the law doesn’t stop divisions, but curbs freedoms of speech and education. Executive Director Mark Stringer said the new law “will stand in the way of the kinds of free and candid conversations that I think our students and teachers frankly need right now. This age we live in is full of disagreements over history, race and sexism, and the way forward is not to limit conversations on these topics, it is to encourage them. any further.
The law states that if a student asks a teacher about systemic racism or some other concept, the teacher can respond freely. John Kealey, president of the Davenport’s Education Association, is a professor of history and says our students shouldn’t learn about a sugar-coated past: “Davenport students in particular deserve the freedom to try and figure out what the truth really is. in history. And in order to do that, you have to provide a lot of historically researched and substantiated information, and it takes time, it takes work. He says historians and teachers check all of their curricula and make sure they tell all aspects of the story.
“What we need to do is do our best to get the best of ourselves for our children. And sometimes the best is to understand our most glorious times and our most painful times, because as a nation, we are still trying to learn and not make the same mistakes.
The law will not impact the daily lives of residents of the North Scott School District, Superintendent Joe Stutting said. He says “Critical Race Theory,” which is what some may call the concept, isn’t taught every day, and neither is it in all subjects. So, it’s only about 5% of their documents that they should review. “When we live in the current political polarization and in some subjects like this, our teachers need guidance to help them balance our approach and teach children. Balance doesn’t mean you avoid topics because someone might be offended, it’s the way you present them that shows both sides or multiple points of view, ”says Superintendent Stutting.
Superintendent Stutting goes on to say that he looks forward to hearing from the Iowa Department of Education on the textbook advice, to see what they can see as a “concept of division.” He says there is no such thing as a critical race theory, but it could be a word or phrase that can be interpreted as so much. Stuttting says it’s difficult for superintendents to assess what they can share as educators. TV6 has contacted the Ministry of Education for comment and has yet to receive a response.
“Critical race theory is about labels and stereotypes, not education. It teaches children that we are to judge others on the basis of race, gender or gender identity, rather than the content of someone’s character, ”Governor Reynolds said in a statement. “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”
“I just think it’s a sad day that this was passed because I don’t think this legislation reflects the kind hearts and the open-mindedness of the majority of people in this state. I don’t think people want to end the conversation, so we’re disappointed, ”says Stringer.
21 states have either introduced legislation to ban “critical race theory” or have already banned it altogether. It will go into effect July 1 in Iowa.
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