GOP Lawmakers Want State Control, Sign-Off of Schools’ Social Studies Lesson Plans

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The Iowa Department of Education would have to sign off on every textbook, article, video or other educational material used in a public school’s social studies class, with a public review process for each following it, under a new proposal from a group of Iowa House Republicans introduced today.

Ten GOP lawmakers introduced HF 2060 on Thursday, a bill that would alter how social studies is taught in the state, and create more bureaucracy for teachers and school districts.

This follows up on Republicans’ successful efforts last year to pass a law banning the non-existent threat of critical race theory being taught in public schools and other “divisive concepts.”

One proposal includes requiring any lesson plan material to be reviewed and approved by the Board of Education, then reviewed by parents, guardians, and teachers during a public comment period before it can be implemented, and posting a list of all approved education materials on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Lesson plan materials that would have to be approved for use include articles, books, textbooks, videos, and more. These materials would be available for review for at least 30 days and the list of approved materials would have to be updated annually by June 30.

Another proposal in it would include giving high school students a multiple-choice assessment of 20 questions developed by the Iowa State Board of Education and based on the latest American citizenship test developed by immigration services.

These results would be published on the Department of Education’s website and organized by school district and grade level. Results would include no identifiable information for individual students but would include the median score, the percentage of students who answered at least 60% of questions correctly, and any other information required by the department.

High school students are already required to take a half unit of US history; however, this would be increased to a full unit and “include a study of political philosophy and provide a comparative and objective analysis of ideologies throughout world history, including capitalism, republicanism, democracy, socialism, communism, totalitarianism, and fascism.”

Additionally, the Iowa and US history sections will also include “examples of political freedoms and economic development under these ideologies and include first-person accounts,” which could conflict with the new “currently controversial issues” section.

The bill’s definition of “currently controversial issues” is “any matter of or related to politics, history, or social affairs that is the subject of a current dispute or disagreement among one or more groups of reasonable persons.”

The bill says a school district shall not request a student or teacher to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any belief relating to currently controversial issues.

The bill’s sponsors are Reps. Dennis Bush, Dean Fisher, Thomas Gerhold, Garrett Gobble, Steve Holt, Tom Jeneary, Anne Osmundson, Henry Stone, Skyler Wheeler, and John Wills.

Were this bill to be implemented, it would go into effect July 1.

 

by Ty Rushing
01/20/22

3 Comments on "GOP Lawmakers Want State Control, Sign-Off of Schools’ Social Studies Lesson Plans"

  • This reminds me of what I have read about the former East German Communist/socialist Party government. they had control of everything and every book. It all had to scrutinized by that Party. Looks like the GOP is trying to take a page out of the DDR (East German) government handbook. Watch out Iowans, watch out Americans or your freedoms will be taken away by the right wing GOP.

  • I am sorry to see that that the current District 38 State representaative Garrett Gobble is one of the co sponsors of this bill. He is a teacher and one that has taught in Ankeny which values each childs liberal education. Liberal education doesn’t mean educating and swaying to thoughts and ideas of liberal politicians but a liberal education means giving students the opportunity to learn and decide for themselves. It is a liberal education that has built and made this country great. It’s no time to tinker with it and take it away. Rep Gobble and his fellow GOPer should know better.

  • So might this proposal bleed into science classes? It was science classes, not social studies classes, that taught me biophilia and turned me into a lifelong conservation advocate.

    I am certain Iowa Republicans would like to prevent that, given their party’s disdain for the environment. So here’s my advice. No outdoor field trips. No outdoor classrooms. Never give children a chance to learn about flowers, birds, mammals, bees, prairies, woodlands, creeks, etc. And always keep children away from nature centers and naturalists, including teachers who know and teach about nature. It was a bird-banding fifth-grade teacher who most subverted me. Shame, shame, Miss Presley, for not teaching a “balanced” class by, I suppose, bringing in someone to present the point of view that wild birds are horrible and protecting their habitat is a rotten idea. Instead, you taught us that birds are wonderful and deserve protection. And I will never forget that. It was several decades ago, but you changed my life.

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