HB 322 & HB 327
Hurt Students, Families, Educators, and Ohio
These bills hurt every Ohioan by prohibiting, censoring, and restricting the essential truths, critical perspectives, and in-depth analyses of America's past and present necessary for healing and growth.
These bills cheat students, families, and educators of a quality public education and instead promote an incomplete and inadequate education that shuns intellectual curiosity and closes minds rather than expanding them.
These bills create distrust among students, families, teachers, and local communities.
These bills leave students, communities, and Ohio ill-equipped to thrive in a dynamic, globally-connected, 21st Century world.
These copycat bills promote the political interests of a national network of corporate-backed legislators, lobbyists, and organizations, not the needs or desires of Ohio.
Our students deserve more. Our families expect more. Our teachers want more.
Our state needs more.
It encourages narrow, singular viewpoints that perpetuate racist, discriminatory and exclusionary abuse, trauma, behavior, and narratives.
It normalizes and models how to perpetrate and tolerate abuse and trauma within staff and students.
It prevents pathways to historical, social, and intellectual reckonings, reconciliations, growth, and healing.
It harms the safety and emotional well-being of students by restricting social-emotional learning programs, like advisory groups.
It prevents students from better understanding their differences in individual identity, experience and culture by preventing them from participating in diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
It devalues students by assuming they cannot handle complex and sometimes conflicting ideas.
It prevents student discussion, debate, and analysis of controversial topics in which students often have a keen interest.
It discourages student voice, student agency and advocacy for others.
It discourages informed citizenship, civic engagement, and community outreach through action civics, service learning and advocacy projects.
It undermines the learning environment by restricting the exploration of ideas, teaching methods, curriculum, and lesson plans.
It restricts essential professional development and training.
It restricts access to critical sources of funding for curricula and materials.
It violates academic freedom in higher education.
It threatens and intimidates educators with severe penalties without clear standards for violations.
It removes the autonomy of school districts and families to interpret and apply educational standards.
It creates distrust and disharmony among educators, students, and families.
It prohibits collaboration among families, educators and school districts by limiting Local Control of communities over their own educational environment.
It imposes a singular State viewpoint over teaching sensitive issues.
It deprives communities of Local Control over their kids' education.
It prohibits collaboration and creates disharmony among families, educators and school districts entrusted to shape their educational environment.
It ignores the wounds families experience when outdated and damaging content remains unchallenged.
It creates distrust and disharmony among families, students, educators, and communities.
OHIO BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS
It impairs Ohio’s economic growth and viability by restricting skills necessary for job readiness and productive teamwork.
It hinders strong workforce development by driving competitive talent away from Ohio.
It limits understanding of American institutions, systems, policies, and power dynamics.
It discourages our young citizens from becoming civically engaged.
It distorts patriotism by denying the need to fight for equal and equitable rights for all people.
It violates the American ideal of challenging institutions, systems, and policies in order to improve them.
It views American history as so shameful we have to hide it, rather than learn from it.
Bills Are Bad Governance
Both bills were referred to the State and Local Government Committee for evaluation, instead of the Primary and Secondary Education Committee, whose primary role is to scrutinize education-focused legislation. The Primary and Secondary Education Committee is primarily comprised of education experts and former practitioners versus the State and Local Government Committee with less than four.
VAGUE & SUBJECTIVE LANGUAGE
The legislation is too subjective to lend itself to fair enforcement. The prohibited ideas are vague, as are the behaviors that constitute a violation. It is hard to know what evidence would substantiate guilt and how to assign responsibility when a discussion veers from the proscribed path.
While the language allows for “objective instruction without endorsement,” another highly subjective idea, the consequences are so intimidating they make any instruction dangerous to the educator resulting in self-censorship to avoid controversy.
EXCESSIVE USE OF PUNISHMENT
The consequences for violations are extreme compared to the assumed damage, and compared to other authentic concerns such as child abuse.
Using complaints from children and families to activate enforcement is dangerous. It destroys the trusting relationship within the classroom that drives effective learning and meaningful resolution of disagreements. It subjects educators to the unhealthy possibility of being the object of a witch hunt.
By connecting serious consequences to instruction this legislation makes teaching a dangerous profession. It could make the current teacher shortage even worse.
The legislation places a heavy burden on the Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, and the Chancellor of Higher Education to enforce laws that contradict the purposes, ethics, and standards of the institutions that they lead.