Opponents of an Ohio bill to ban the teaching of divisive concepts in schools are taking

The Ohio House bill, was assigned to the State and Local Government Committee last June and hasn’t been passed out of it yet. But that hasn’t stopped teachers, parents, and others who oppose the legislation from banning together to fight the bill that would prevent K-12 schools from teaching so-called “divisive” content. A coalition of more than 30 educational groups plans to come to the Statehouse Wednesday to speak out against it.

A group calling itself “Honesty for Ohio Education” plans to oppose the bill that “would ban teaching, advocating, or promoting divisive concepts on race and history.” Pete Van Lier is one of the founders of the group and says the goal in school should not be to avoid controversy.

“It might make people uncomfortable and that’s part of education – stretching ourselves and learning more about things we might not have known,” Van Lier says.

CRT protest confrontation in downtown Columbus, Ohio, September 2021

A confrontation at the anti-“critical race theory” protest at the Ohio Department of Education on September 20, 2021, between a counterprotestor and a supporter of bills to ban the teaching of what sponsors call “divisive concepts” on race, history and public policy. [Karen Kasler /  Statehouse News Bureau]

Republicans nationwide as well as here in Ohio have been talking a lot about parental rights when it comes to what students are being taught. Critical Race Theory, a graduate school concept not taught in K-12 schools in Ohio, is often referred to as the catchphrase for teaching about issues involving race or gender. The Republican sponsors of this legislation say it would give parents more of a voice in what their children learn. In addition to this bill, there is another that would ban the teaching of so-called “critical race theory” in Ohio public schools.

Recently, the College Board, which accredits high school AP classes, laid out seven principles that must be met in order for students to get credit. Those include “fostering an open-minded approach to the histories and cultures of different peoples.” The College Board also says it opposes indoctrination and censorship. Calls placed to the College Board for comment were not returned.

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