Ohio House Bills 322 & 327 force censorship and underfunding on Ohio schools



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Ohio legislators presented various bills to regulate public education, notably House Bill 322 and 327. According to the representatives who introduced these bills, the purpose of the legislation is to make Ohio’s public education less divisive. However, the propositions present in the bills are misguided and short-sighted. 

Not too long ago, Ohio laws prohibited people of color from voting, running for office, serving on juries, and attending public schools. Many of these laws were in place for over half a century.

Under House Bill 322, this history is forbidden from being taught as systemic racism. Instead, it must be referred to as “deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to the founding principles of the United States.” Additionally, if a teacher decides to discuss “current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs,” they must do so from “diverse and contending perspectives.” However, House Bill 322 does not offer any definitions or examples of these “widely debated, controversial issues.” 

This will leave teachers guessing which topics are acceptable to teach and which are not. The end result will be teachers leaving numerous topics out of the curriculum, in fear of violating the law. The teachers who do decide to navigate around these restrictions will now have to present both sides of subjects such as The Holocaust, Jim Crow Laws, and other systemic failures. 

House Bill 327 adapts the thinking of House Bill 322; however, it allows the state to pull funding from and shut down all state-funded schools, kindergarten to university, if they are found to be teaching “divisive concepts.” For example, a textbook depicting Jim Crow Laws as systemic racism is clear justification for pulling funding, as it would be impossible to teach that African Americans did not have the same rights as their white counterparts. 

Republican Diane Grendell, who represents Geauga County and Republican Sarah Fowler, who represents Ashtabula, are currently sponsoring this harmful bill. The consequences outlined in the legislation would stunt the learning of countless students and leave our already stretched teachers in constant fear of losing their job or pay. The lawmakers behind House Bill 327 care so much about eliminating the teachings of inherent bias and systemic racism, that they are willing to leave teachers jobless and students without a historically accurate education. 

It is undeniable that the systems formally, and currently present in the state of Ohio and the United States harm people of color more than their white counterparts. As advocates for truthful and accurate education, we believe that House Bills 322 and 327 are inherently flawed. Students should learn history as it happened and not how our government wishes it happened. It is necessary to recognize the past flaws of our country, so that we don’t abandon our principle of achieving greater equality and repeat our mistakes.