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Indiana teachers are predicting a mass exodus from the profession if a state bill restricting how educators teach critical lessons related to race theory is passed.
“I can’t imagine we’re going to have anything other than a huge teacher exodus if this legislation is passed,” Jim Lang, a journalism professor at Floyd Central High School, told the Indy Star. “And I think the problem is going to be that you won’t have enough people to fill the positions, or some of the people you’re going to bring in won’t be qualified.”
The bill passed largely along party lines in the State House last month and has been referred to the Senate Education and Career Development Committee for progress.
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House Bill 1134 would prohibit educators from promoting “certain concepts in a course of instruction” that “require a school employee or student to adhere to certain principles relating to gender, race, ethnicity, to the religion, color, national origin or political affiliation of the individual.”
The Star described the bill as one that would prohibit educators from teaching that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or political affiliation is superior or inferior to another, or that any individual should feel distress. psychological harm because of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, colour, national origin or political affiliation.
It would also prohibit schools from requiring students to participate in surveys that reveal or attempt to affect a student’s attitudes, habits, traits, opinions, beliefs, or feelings without parental consent.
The bill was inspired by the national debate over critical race theory and would empower parents through parent-centered Curriculum Review Boards.
If the bill passes, parents could file complaints if teachers violate any of the restrictions, which in some cases could lead to lawsuits against schools. Additionally, the bill would allow the Secretary of State for Education to suspend or revoke teaching licenses if educators “willfully or without cause” violate its provisions regarding the promotion of divisive concepts, according to the Star. .
“It opens the door for parents to sue you for anything,” Suzanne Holcomb, an elementary school teacher in northern Indiana, told The Star.
The bill’s author, Republican State Rep. Tony Cook, said it would give parents more transparency and power.
“The overriding intent of this bill is to provide transparency in programs,” said Cook, who is a former teacher and superintendent. “In addition to empowering parents by giving them back the opportunity to participate in the process of selecting and approving educational materials for teachers to use in the classroom.”
Hundreds of teachers gathered outside the Indianapolis Capitol last week to protest the bill. Others warn that the state will see a mass exodus of educators if the bill is signed into law.
“I’m going to have to quit, or I’m going to have to ignore it,” Lang told The Star. “I won’t comply. I can’t. It’s that bad.”
The state faces an ongoing staffing shortage among full-time and substitute teachers, and the state Department of Education is posting more than 800 job openings, the Indiana newspaper reported.
“It’s the final nail in the coffin,” Suzanne Holcomb, an elementary school teacher in northern Indiana, told The Star. “I don’t know how we could move forward from that. It would just make teaching impossible.”
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Holcomb added that the bill “feels like an attack on education”, “an attack on our integrity” and “quite frankly, it’s insulting”.
“As long as I’m still enjoying the work, feeling effective at my job, I see no reason to leave,” said fellow teacher Sandy James. “This bill could change that for me.”
The bill also forces students to become teachers to rethink their career paths.
“Anyone I know, over the last semester, has said out loud, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,'” said Abby Martin, a student at Indiana University in Bloomington to become a teacher. in high school. “It’s alarming.”
Democrats and activists argue that critical race theory is not actually taught in schools. But for parents reviewing their children’s lessons, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
School board meetings have been flooded across the country over the past year with parents outraged at the education system for keeping racism “on life support” with CRT.
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An Indiana mother, Monica Hutton, struggles with the lessons her ninth-grade son receives in the Martinsville Metropolitan School District.
“If we don’t take charge, it’s communism,” Hutton said the star. “It’s here.”
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And while some claim CRT is not taught in schools, the Martinsville Metropolitan School District said officials have identified areas of concern with some of its own programs.
“The MSD of Martinsville does not support the teaching of critical race theory,” said Suzie Lipps, a member of the city council and assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and human resources, during a recent school board speech. “Together we have identified a few areas of concern and are planning proactively to ensure that all programs are politically neutral and balanced.”
As HB 1134 passes through the State Capitol, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is watching “very closely.”
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“The governor is grateful for our state’s educators and the tremendous role they play in preparing students for their future and that of our state,” Erin Murphy, the governor’s press secretary, told The Star. “He’s always sensitive to adding extra fillers that will make their job more difficult.”