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Teacher Education Opposition to HB 322 & 327

Presented on 10/15/2021

As faculty in the Ohio University’s Patton College of Education who are focused on educational policy, teacher preparation, and K-12 classroom learning, we stand in strong opposition to HB 322 and HB 327. These bills are part of a broader legislative agenda across the U.S. that misconstrues classroom practice and educational theory with the aim of stifling essential discussions about racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression in Ohio schools and universities.

If passed, these bills will limit conversations about race and racism in classrooms. The bills, and especially the broader dialogue surrounding them, are focused on a misinterpretation of classroom practice and educational theories, such as Critical Race Theory. As teacher educators, we strive to prepare teachers who value all students in the classroom, can recognize and build on a diverse range of strengths, and advocate for the humanity of all people. This work demands honest and open discussions about the role of race and racism, as well as other forms of injustice, in our society. It is inherently dangerous to accept outright misstatements about educational theory and to sidestep the expertise of those who study and understand these issues as it undermines notions of truth and honest discourse.

HB 322 and HB 327 represent a step in the wrong direction. Across the country and state, there is an increased awareness of and openness to discussions about racism, sexism, and other injustices. Students are capable of and in need of respectful and developmentally appropriate spaces where they can learn to discuss these issues safely and productively. Our local educators and college and university faculty are best positioned to draw on their expertise and contextual knowledge to facilitate these critical conversations. In contrast, these bills use far-reaching and overly broad language that will leave educators, districts, and institutions vulnerable to attack regardless of how they approach these topics, leading many to shy away from this much-needed dialogue.

Finally, the consequences of these bills will limit, and most likely stall, the development of young Ohioans as civically engaged citizens capable of the critical thinking, problem-solving, and informed decision-making necessary for sustaining Ohio’s social, economic, and ecological well-being. With this in mind, we urge Ohio lawmakers to join us in standing against the harmful and misguided ideas that are promoted in HB 322 and 327.

The Department of Teacher Education
The Patton College of Education
Ohio University

Individual Signatures
Christopher Andersen
Perianne R. Bates
Kimberly Ciroli
Kevin Cordi
Danielle Dani
Kevin B. Deitle
Frans H. Doppen
Debra Dunning
Martha Evans
Mathew Felton-Koestler
Danielle Feeney
Gregory D. Foley
Lisa Frasure
Eugene Geist
ThedaMarie Gibbs Grey
Brent Goff
Dianne Güt-Zippert
Allyson Hallman-Thrasher
Lisa Harrison
Sara L. Hartman
Stephanie Huang
Jeesun Jung
Christopher Kennedy
Marcy Keifer Kennedy
Courtney Koestler
Michael Kopish
Jen Newton
Teri M. Peasley
Brett Riley Noel
Ryan Pigman
Jason Rawls
Laura Wentworth
Amy Wolfe
Jacqueline Yahn