Opinion

Ohio House bill ignores history, censors important issues

 

Ohio House Bill 327 would restrict schools and provide guidelines on what and how they can teach about race and sex. The bill has caused controversy and debate regarding if and how race should be addressed in schools. It discusses Critical Race Theory, defined by Purdue University as a “theoretical and interpretive mode that examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression.” The bill essentially bans any teaching of ideas such as discrimination, privilege due to race and generally how members of one race interact with one another. This bill must be vetoed due to how it could affect and damage students’ education by excluding important history, as well as change curriculum standards and the way teachers instruct by enforcing guidelines.

House Bill 327 would ban “the concept that members of one nationality, race, color, ethnicity, religion, or sex attempt to treat others disrespectfully based upon nationality, race, color, ethnicity, religion, or sex.” Using broad language insinuates that teaching about racism at all would be banned. With four pages outlining what schools cannot teach, curriculum would have to be reworked. Not only would this alter the content of all history courses up to high school level, it would also change the fundamental ideas young children are taught.

Racism is a part of our country’s history, whether we want to admit it or not. For centuries, discrimination and racism have existed in our country. Because of this, racism has become planted in legal systems and everyday life, which aligns with the ideas of Critical Race Theory.

If we don’t acknowledge our country’s racism, not only in society but also education, future generations can’t learn from it. Restrictions on teaching about race in schools would change the content students learn and would then in turn change how they see the world, themselves and others. House Bill 327 uses the term “divisive concepts” to outline what they are banning, including that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.” This bill does not allow for any other viewpoints to be included. If students are only taught one viewpoint, it will be harder for them to learn anything else. House Bill 327 would also ban teaching topics as important as slavery. Children, teens and even adults need to learn about the history of the country they live in or they will not understand it.

According to an article from Children’s Defense Fund, if the bill is passed, any course a student takes that covers these “divisive” concepts would not count as credit towards graduation. This article also points out that if a school violates House Bill 327, they would lose 25% of state funding on the first offense, with this percentage only increasing for each offense.

These curriculum changes would be expensive and difficult for teachers to manage. Any push for diversity that had been made would be reversed.

Many teachers have been trying to include more diverse authors or including stories of minorities throughout history. According to an article from Vox, a handful of states have begun to develop an ethnic studies curriculum. Teachers would have to redo or completely cut out certain units of curriculum because of this bill. The bill says if a teacher went against this bill and taught students these “divisive concepts,” they could be fined or even lose their job.

According to an article from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, teachers could lose their license if they go against the bill and teach their students the ideas of the Critical Race Theory.

Teaching ideas such as race and how it has been seen through history should not be strictly outlined by the state government. This bill would have a large and widespread impact on students, teachers and their curriculum. The effect would be seen throughout the country, but also locally in Bexley. House Bill 327 would restrict the education we receive.

Zoe Wright
Zoe Wright is a junior at Bexley High School and a staff reporter for The Torch. In her free time, she plays piano and viola.