Iowa becomes latest state to bar teaching of critical race theory

Proponents of the so-called critical race theory (CRT) were dealt another blow this week when Iowa became the latest state to prohibit the theory from being taught to and by public employees.

According to Fox News, Iowa’s GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 802 into law Tuesday. The legislation reportedly prohibits any state agency or local government, as well as public universities in the state, from engaging in training or education practices that involve “race and sex stereotyping.”

Reynolds, for her part, has labeled the CRT “discriminatory indoctrination” and said in a press release Tuesday that it’s “about labels and stereotypes, not education.”

“It teaches kids that we should judge others based on race, gender or sexual identity, rather than the content of someone’s character,” the governor said, according to Fox. “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”

Freedom of speech?

Under the bill’s provisions, “the head of an agency, governmental entity, or governmental subdivision shall ensure that any mandatory staff training provided by an employee of an agency, governmental entity, or governmental subdivision…does not teach, advocate, encourage, promote, or act upon stereotyping, scapegoating, or prejudice toward others on the basis of demographic group membership or identity.”

This includes “the idea that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex, that the United States of America and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist.”

But while Reynolds has expressed support for the new measure, not everyone was pleased with it.

Among the bill’s detractors is Democratic state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, who claims the legislation will pose a threat to free speech.

“We can’t have it both ways,” Abdul-Samad complained, as Fox reported. “We can’t say on one hand ‘we want freedom of speech,’ on another hand say ‘we want to hear both sides’ and then stifle those sides.”

Opponents say CRT promotes hate

Critical race theory and its role in education have become major points of contention over the past year, with many on the right arguing that the theory promotes prejudice.

Earlier this month, Republicans in Wisconsin moved forward on a bill that would bar the theory from being taught in their state, as well.

“This legislation treats students as equal under the law,” state Rep. Chuck Wichgers, one of the bill’s sponsors, told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “Children should not face state-sanctioned discrimination or psychological distress in an educational environment based on immutable characteristics.”

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