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Coalition of organizations opposes resurrection of controversial education bill

Posted at 7:20 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 19:25:12-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill aimed at restricting school curricula is dead, but many are concerned that language from it will be tacked on to another bill.

That process happens regularly towards the end of the session and could still happen for the now-defunct House Bill 1334.

Lawmakers used this process to bring back open-carry legislation earlier this week.

Proponents of the bill say it will give parents more transparency. Groups including the Indiana State Teachers Association feel otherwise.

"Here we are in the final days of this session and there are efforts to revive the concepts of House Bill 1134 in a time of the session when there is much less transparency in the legislative process," said Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

ISTA had support from other organizations like the NAACP, The Indiana Library Association, and the Indiana Parent Teacher Association.

Rachel Burke, president of the Indiana Parent Teacher Association, said her organization is opposed to "all of the language that existed in HB 1134."

Representatives of the NAACP say the language in this bill is harmful to students who belong to marginalized groups.

“The language attempts to halt the collective rights of African American students, students of Latin origin, indigenous people, and other students’ groups that fall into a marginalized category,” said Carole Craig of the NAACP and the Children's Policy and Law Initiative.

Teachers who spoke at the rally say the bill would hinder their ability to teach kids social-emotional curriculum which they say is important to the growth of kids educationally but also personally.

“We cannot teach students how to navigate a turbulent world with grace, with kindness, and with wisdom if we do not expose them to disagreement,” said Sophie Longest a History teacher at Purdue Polytechnic High School.

The restrictions the bill would create are something the Indiana State Teachers Association says could make the teachers shortage even worse. Especially as educators are working to help those most affected by learning loss due to COVID-19.

"Now is not the time to place more burdens on teachers and is certainly not the time to limit the resources and materials that students can access,” said Gambill. "Especially when trying to reach those most impacted by the pandemic. "

The representatives from all of these organizations say that if any of the language from House Bill 1134 is passed they will continue to fight against it. They urge Hoosiers who support their cause to call their legislators.