What you need to know about education legislation

Indiana Senate Bill 167, one of many “education matters” bills, has been the subject of controversy in Hoosier State and beyond since the hearing of his commission on January 5.

During a year of turmoil in public schools, tense school council meetings took place around the state. Critical race theory, which is not typically taught in K-12 schools, has taken center stage with parents, primarily in suburban communities, challenging the way schools teach race and the racism. This has led to several proposals from lawmakers to ban certain subjects in K-12 schools, including Senate Bill 167, Bill 1134, and Bill 1040.

Here’s a look at one of the education bills making waves at the Statehouse.

What does Senate Bill 167 include?

If Senate Bill 167 became law, it would require schools to:

  • Publish educational activities and teaching materials online.
  • Create an educational materials advisory committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and community members. This group would submit recommendations for the curriculum and activities to the governing body of the school corporation.
  • Allow parents to accept or refuse “certain educational activities and curriculum materials under certain conditions”, as defined by an advisory committee. This could include lessons, concepts, books, or other materials.

Under Senate Bill 167, schools or those who represent schools in an official capacity cannot:

  • Ask a school employee or student to join “certain tenants related to sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or political affiliation of the individual ”.
  • Require a school employee to engage in training, counseling or therapy that exhibits any form of racial or gender stereotyping or blame on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or political affiliation. “
  • Require students to participate in a “personal analysis, assessment or investigation that reveals or attempts to affect the attitudes, habits, traits, opinions, beliefs or feelings of students without parental consent.” .

Senate Bill 167:Critical debate on racial theory prompts bills banning “divisive concepts”

Senate Bill 167 also includes removing schools and certain public libraries from the list of entities eligible for a specific defense to criminal prosecution alleging the following, and adds colleges and universities to the list.

  1. The dissemination of material harmful to minors.
  2. A performance detrimental to minors.

Text of Indiana Senate Bill 167

The full text of Senate Bill 167 is available on the Indiana General Assembly website. Read it here.

Who is Senator Scott Baldwin?

Indiana Sen. Scott Baldwin, R-Noblesville, is one of the sponsors of the bill. He said the bill is designed to prohibit schools from teaching concepts that “divide and stereotype people.”

During the first week of this year’s legislative session in Indiana, Baldwin suggested that teachers should remain neutral on fascism, Nazism and Marxism. He later returned to the comments, but has been widely criticized.

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Scott Baldwin, Republican member of the Indiana Senate on Organizing Day at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

Are other education bills moving forward?

Two bills dealing with similar subjects were tabled in the House: HB 1040 and HB 1134. Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 1134 will be voted on in committee this week.

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Digital producer Jenny Porter Tilley and IndyStar reporters Arika Herron and Rory Appleton contributed to this report.

Norman D. Briggs