Ohio House Bills 322 and 327 have been introduced, which would restrict the teaching of certain concepts and topics in K-16 classrooms. HB 322 primarily targets public schools and state agencies, but the Ohio Department of Higher Education would be included under the definition of state agency. This bill prohibits public entities from requiring discussion of current events and prohibits the teaching of a list of topics dealing with race, sex, slavery, and bias. It also targets history and civics courses, discouraging the discussion of current events, controversial issues, or activities that involve social or policy advocacy. Moreover, the legislation specifies that teachers cannot be required to teach anything that goes against their "sincerely held religious or philosophical convictions."
HB 327 is slightly different and more punitive than HB 322. The bill prohibits public schools, state agencies, colleges, and universities from offering teaching, instruction, or training on "divisive concepts" or accepting private funding to promote such concepts. Violations of the bill would result in the withholding of funding to school districts or State Share of Instruction to colleges and universities. The bill has a list of concepts related to race, sex, nationality, color, and ethnicity that it defines as divisive and therefore prohibited. It does say that divisive or controversial concepts can be taught if done so objectively and impartially, but who gets to determine what is objective and impartial is unclear.
The Ohio Council for the Social Studies is firmly opposed to both of these Bills.
Below are some ways Ohio's Social Studies teachers can take action:
1) Stay Informed
2) Get Involved