Same lipstick, different pig: with Indiana HB 1134 Hoosier lawmakers continue their attacks on teachers

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Indiana Senate Bill 167 which caught quite a bit of attention. I certainly wasn’t the only one out there speaking out against that dreadful legislation. The pushback against that bill was very successful and it died before ever going to vote. That was a good feeling, but we knew it wouldn’t last. Even as the national spotlight was shining brightly on SB 167, a nearly identical bill was in its early stages on the other side of the Hoosier statehouse. I am referring to HB 1134, which has all of the same potentially disastrous qualities as its now decease cousin, SB 167. Here is a short list of the kinds of things that are in this bill that could cause the very collapse of public education in Indiana.

  •      Teachers would be required to post lesson plans and curricular materials in advance with “sufficient time for parental review.” If parents were not happy with the content in the plans, they could opt their child out of those lessons and the teacher would be required to provide different lessons for that particular child. 
  •     In each school system, committees composed of parents and community members would be selected to would approve or reject all curriculum taught in their school system
  •    Teachers who have been perceived to have been in violation of any of these policies can be subject to severe penalties if there is a complaint filed by a parent. What’s more, the complaint need not be filed by a parent of an actual student in that teacher’s class.
  •     Teachers would be forbidden to teach any content that might make a student feel “uncomfortable” about their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.

I’ve already addressed most of those bullet points in my article about Senate Bill 167, but I want to dive a little deeper into that last bullet point— “Teachers would be forbidden to teach any content that might make a student feel “uncomfortable” about their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.”—which, at first blush, might sound innocuous to you. Let me assure you, that’s a scary proposition. Let me give you some examples…

  • Suppose a white parent claimed that their child was uncomfortable learning that some white people, including many of our founding fathers, owned black slaves.
  • Suppose a Christian parent claimed their child was uncomfortable learning that dinosaurs lived millions and millions of years ago and never shared the earth with human beings.
  • Suppose a parent whose family roots come from England claimed their child was uncomfortable learning that the Irish immigrants coming to America were treated terribly. 
  • Suppose some parent claimed their male child was made uncomfortable learning about how women had very few rights for most of our nation’s history. 
  • Suppose a parent claimed that their child was made uncomfortable learning about the Nazi Holocaust. 

Not only are all of those scenarios possible but some of them have already happened in different parts of the country. These are dangerous waters we are flirting with here, very dangerous. 

I’m not breaking any new ground with this, but it bears mentioning here that discomfort goes hand in hand with growth. If we are not made uncomfortable, we become stagnant, we atrophy, we regress. If we are not pushed past our comfort level, we tend to accept our world as it is. This is the opposite of what should happen in schools.

Sadly, HB 1134 was passed through the Indiana House of Representatives last night. Now it will head to the Senate to be debated and voted upon. Was SB 167 just a Trojan Horse sacrificed in a false show of good faith ahead of the arrival HB 1134? Will the Indiana Senate be able to muster up the courage to do the right thing and send HB 1134 to the wretched scrap heap of historically bad ideas? Well, I’m not going to hold my breath, and neither should you. Share the news about this with all your family and friends who care about teachers and students in Indiana’s public schools. 

Contact your state Senator and tell them to vote no on HB 1134.

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3 Replies to “Same lipstick, different pig: with Indiana HB 1134 Hoosier lawmakers continue their attacks on teachers”

  1. I’m grateful to you for keeping an eye on the legislative actions and informing the public. I know the work can be exhausting. We are in a time of transition as the country is, the planet is, moving away from a patriarchal, colonial, capitalist world to something better, I hope. These systems and institutions won’t go down without a fight. You’d think the people writing this legislation would see the insanity of it, but they don’t.

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