Letter: Statehouse bills politicize, censor Indiana education

From: Nick Slabaugh


With a pair of bills in the state House (HB1134) and Senate (SB167), along with a broad push to politicize school boards, Indiana Republicans are poised to transform education in Indiana into a heavily censored, entirely political institution. If these bills pass, schools will become places where ideas that don’t align with the “right” political views may not be taught.

Fear whipped up by cynical media organizations over the academic concept of “critical race theory” (material not taught in any K-12 school) has given cover for state lawmakers to attempt to dictate what can and cannot be taught in schools, thus establishing an official state-approved version of history and society against which there may be no dissent.

These proposals threaten the careers, livelihoods, and even freedom of teachers who fail to align with state-sanctioned perspectives. They put bounties on teachers’ heads and allow for the banning of nearly any material that someone finds objectionable. They add a litany of tasks and responsibilities to the duties of already-overworked teachers.

The examples of objectionable material presented in session so far illuminate just how absurd these bills are.

One example of “objectionable” material: That the Black Lives Matter movement exists and why.

Another ban-able perspective: That Nazis are bad.

Indiana’s teachers should be allowed to teach without fear of punishment for “wrongthink.”

People who think it’s okay to abuse and threaten public servants when they don’t get their way should not be deciding how schools are run.

The politics of the day should not decide what can and cannot be taught in schools. That way lies ignorance, prejudice and division.