INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Senate will not consider controversial Republican-backed legislation that supporters say would have increased parental control over what their children learn, but which teachers and others say criticism, would have constituted censorship, a senior lawmaker said on Friday.

Members of the Republican-led Legislature worked on the bill this week, “but determined there was no way forward and it would not be considered,” the official said. Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray in a statement.

The legislation would have required all school curricula to be posted online for parental review and prohibited schools’ ability to teach concepts such as critical race theory, which has become a catch-all term for the idea that the racism is systemic in the country’s institutions. and that they function to maintain white dominance in society.

The House is expected to consider a similar bill next week that would require school materials to be posted online and vetted by parent review boards, as well as restrictions on teaching about racism and political topics.

Bray said Tuesday that lawmakers needed more time to work on the wording of the Republican-sponsored Senate bill. Senator Scott Baldwin of Noblesville, who was widely condemned last week when he said, in reference to the legislation, that teachers must be “impartial” when discussing Nazism and other political ideologies.

Baldwin then backtracked on his comments, saying he meant he “unequivocally” condemned Nazism, Fascism and Marxism, and agreed that teachers “should condemn these dangerous ideologies”. He was absent from Senate proceedings on Wednesday due to exposure to COVID-19, Republican Sen. Jeff Raatz said ahead of the education committee meeting.

Baldwin, who is white, maintained that his intention was to prevent certain “discriminatory concepts” from being taught in classrooms.

This would have included prohibiting K-12 schools from requiring a student or employee “to engage in training, guidance, or therapy that exhibits any form of racial or gender stereotyping or blaming on the basis of the sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, colour, national origin or political affiliation”. Teachers would also not be allowed to “include or promote” such concepts as part of their curriculum. .

The bill did not explicitly refer to critical race theory. Instead, he said schools could not teach “that every individual should experience discomfort, guilt, anguish, responsibility or any other form of psychological distress” because of this. which Baldwin called “the eight specific division concepts” outlined in the bill.

“I am pleased that Senate Republicans listened to our well-trained and experienced teachers who testified to the harmful consequences of this bill,” Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor of Indianapolis said in a statement Friday. “Indiana’s classrooms should be a place where students can learn about facts and history without censorship.”

The House bill with similar language could be voted on by the full House next week. It is one of three “education matters” bills proposed by Conservative lawmakers in both houses of the General Assembly during the current legislative session.

Molly Fishell, a Senate Republican spokeswoman, said senators would consider the similar House bill “when and if” the House passes it.

Republican Representative Tony Cook de Cicero, author of the House bill, pointed out that amendments to the legislation passed Wednesday in response to teachers’ concerns would ensure that educators could still discuss “social injustices” and that “schools can and should teach that Nazism is evil.”

Rep. Ed Delaney, an Indianapolis Democrat who serves on the House Education Committee, said in a statement that House members continue to work on this bill, “but should agree that it is not ‘there’s no way to go and bury it’.


Casey Smith is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow Smith on Twitter.

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