Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Giving clarity to curriculum guidelines
By State Rep. Jeff Shipley
May. 2, 2023 9:34 am
Our love and prayers are with the Fairfield Community School District as they respond to concerns and navigate important decisions.
Thank you to all the parents, teachers, and community members who do the important work of speaking up.
One lingering concern regarding state law has resurfaced and deserves clarification:
Last year, a Fairfield Middle School social studies teacher resigned his position, alleging that Iowa’s ban on “critical race theory” (CRT) prevented him from teaching the subject of slavery.
Nothing could be further than the truth, and thankfully the letter and intent of Iowa law is clear and easy to understand.
Unfortunately for this “teacher,” he was wishing to force eighth graders to read the radical and overtly racist work of Ibram X Kendi, a prominent critical race theorist who openly advocates for racial discrimination.
Iowa law prevents curriculum or training (indoctrination) on divisive concepts antithetical to common values.
These defined divisive concepts are as follows:
"(1) That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
(2) That the United States of America and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist.
(3) That an individual, solely because of the individual's race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
(4) That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual's race or sex.
(5) That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
(6) That an individual's moral character is necessarily determined by the individual's race or sex.
(7) That an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
(8 ) That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual's race or sex.
(9) That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
(10) Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping."
The law specifically clarifies that nothing in this law will, "prohibit the use of curriculum that teaches the topics of sexism, slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation."
However, for example, teaching Ibram X Kendi's extreme ideas that America and white people are fundamentally racist, would be prohibited under this law.
The law further clarifies, "nothing shall inhibit or violate the first amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine a school district's duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression. The intellectual vitality of students and faculty shall not be infringed under this section."
If a teacher were to insist on using critical race texts and controversial authors, it would have to be presented neutrally with students free and equally encouraged to agree or disagree with the ideas presented therein.
As one can plainly see, these defined concepts are readily agreeable and easy to understand and apply.
I’m thankful that this incident is behind the school district and I’m glad the administration was able to resolve this issue.
It's true that Iowa is suffering a critical shortage of teachers.
Sadly there is no shortage of indoctrinators, eager to groom children into radical ideology, who view themselves as superior to parents.
I wish this particular "teacher" the very best in their future endeavors, but would remind them It’s the role of our education system to instill critical thinking in all children, but never force a one-sided viewpoint in the classroom.
As always, it's crucial to build broad consensus across the community on the most appropriate methods, standards, curriculum and goals of educating children, and your help is appreciated!
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