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Lawmaker proposes bill aimed at limiting race, gender studies in schools


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    LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (WLKY) — A bill proposed by a state lawmaker would limit what Kentucky’s public or charter schools can teach students regarding race and gender.

On Tuesday, Republican state lawmaker Joseph Fischer pre-filed bill request 60, which he calls, “an act relating to public education and declaring an emergency.”

And it has a lot of people talking as it aims to limit a teacher’s ability to talk about things like systemic racism.

“I think once you start legislating what can and can’t be taught in schools, especially in the framework of politics, it gets really dangerous,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a question about the bill during his COVID-19 briefing.

In effect, the proposed bill would control what teachers say regarding race and gender. The text of the bill says teachers can’t use materials that promote division between different groups.

The bill also says teachers can’t say someone is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, or that the country is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist.

Beshear went on to say that he found the bill concerning because of its link to ongoing political issues around the country and how it would potentially “legislate what exactly will be taught in schools.”

The governor was not alone in his concern, in a statement to WLKY, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio said he opposes the legislation.

“I have real concerns about any attempt by the legislature to take away local control and potentially disrupt our plans to reduce the achievement gap in JCPS,” he said.

Pollio questioned how people can expect students to succeed “if they do not see themselves and their history in the curriculum.”

In the proposed bill, violations could range from intervention from the state attorney general to a $5,000 fine each day.

State education commissioner Jason Glass said he opposes efforts to limit the exchange of ideas and micro-manage teachers.

“Discussing difficult issues is how we prepare our students to be citizens in our Democratic Republic and our state has a long tradition of empowering our local educators to make the best decisions for their students.”

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