Public elementary and secondary schools; student citizenship skills, etc. (HB781)

Introduced By

Del. Wren Williams (R-Stuart)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Public elementary and secondary schools; student citizenship skills; certain instructional policies prohibited; parental rights; disclosures; penalties; other remedies. Requires the Board of Education to incorporate into each relevant Standard of Learning and associated curriculum framework a requirement that each student demonstrate the understanding of, among other concepts, the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government, as well as the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States. The bill prohibits any public school teacher or other instructional staff member from being required to discuss any current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs and provides that any such employee who chooses to discuss any such event or issue in the scope of his instructional duties shall, to the best of his ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives, without giving deference to any one perspective. The bill prohibits the Board and Department of Education and each local school board from teaching, instructing, or training certain individuals and groups, including teachers and students, to support, believe, endorse, embrace, confess, act upon, or otherwise assent to a divisive concept, as defined in the bill, or penalizing or discriminating against any such individual or group for refusing to do so. The bill also prohibits any school board or employee thereof from teaching or incorporating into any course or class any such divisive concept or creating a position or hiring a consultant with the job title of equity director or diversity director or a substantially similar title and with a job description that includes any activity that would result in a violation of a provision of the bill. The bill further declares that the parent of each student enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school has the right to be aware of all curricula, instructional materials, lessons, and other forms of instruction provided to his child and may request that the student's teacher provide any such item for review. Finally, the bill provides that in the event that a local school board finds that a school board employee has persistently, knowingly, and intentionally violated any of the bill's provisions, the parent of any student affected by such violations may request and the local school board shall provide a voucher in an amount equal to all sums from any source that the local school board received for the education of such student and the parent shall use such voucher to provide for the education of his child in any setting set forth in relevant law. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/11/2022Committee
01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22101538D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on Education
02/08/2022Impact statement from DPB (HB781)
02/15/2022Left in Education

Comments

Tom writes:

Beyond the glaring mistake of the Lincoln/Frederick Douglas statement this bill is horrendous. For example section G places and totally irrational, impossible, and impractical requirement on teachers and administrators. It stifles creative instruction. It would force under penalty of the law a social studies teacher ignore news and events that couldn’t be seen the summer before the school year begins. Defeat this attempt to stifle innovation, creativity, and freedom in the classroom.

JoAnne Norton writes:

This bill is so "wordy" that it destroys actually telling what it means.I think if I try to understand it: It destroys learning civics, citizenship and history based on documented historical events. Throughout the years, students were taught that things on the "plantation" were great for African American slaves when they were not. I am afraid that realistic portrayals of history and current events would be hidden. Discussion of controversial events would not be allowed. This would be equivalent to a autocratic or oligachal state where freedom of expression is not allowed. This is why we have waged war vs nations in the past.

Paige Horst writes:

First, The mistakes (Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas, not Frederick Douglass) and grammatical errors erode the overall credibility of this bill. It is not becoming of an elected official to create education legislation with such glaring factual and grammatical problems.

Second, it is not possible for a "student (to) demonstrate the understanding of, among other concepts, the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government, as well as the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States" without teaching divisive concepts as defined by this bill.

Third, the language in this bill is so broad as to be unworkable in a practical application. History and social studies teachers are now unable to teach that US actions in, say, liberating prisoners from concentration camps was good and morally correct. That must now be taught as a neutral moment in history and the teacher must "to the best of his ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives, without giving deference to any one perspective." So, explore that event from a contending perspective? I understand that many would not feel that US involvement in WW2 would be controversial, but I assure you that a substantial segment of our society does interpret historical events such as The Holocaust to be a controversial and contentious issue.

Finally, who determines which events and current events are "divisive" and "controversial"? The definitions given in the bill are broad and open to endless interpretation by parents, administrators, politicians, students, and teachers.

Lou Di Leonardo writes:

This bill finally makes "teachers" teach skills needed to succeed and stay away from indoctrination of young minds. It is a shame that we need a bill to force teachers to do the job they were hired to do but here we are in 2022 in exactly that predicament.

If anyone needs help in determining what constitutes divisive, controversial, or traitorous, just go to CNNNBCMSNBCCBSABCNPR any day of the week. Teach useable skills, not anger/hatred/resentment/racial animus.

Dee Martworthy writes:

Paige Horst is so eloquent in her comments above that I simply submit my full throated support for them. Do not pass this bill.

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