Iowa Governor Signs Law Targeting Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Republican Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed a law Tuesday targeting the inclusion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public school classroom curricula.

“Critical Race Theory is 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,” Reynolds said in a statement. “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”

Iowa’s law will prohibit teaching the concepts that the U.S. or state of Iowa is fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist, that an individual, by virtue of race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, either consciously or unconsciously, and that anyone should “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of one’s race or sex, according to the Des Moines Register.

The measure also forbids schools from engaging in “race or sex stereotyping” or “race or sex scapegoating.” It defines the former as assigning “character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status or beliefs” to any race or sex. It defines the latter as assigning “fault, blame or bias” to a particular race or sex.

The legislation protects students and faculty from being discriminated against for their political convictions by other students and faculty. The bill applies to classroom material as well as diversity and inclusion training for state and local government employees, which is also barred from participating in this kind of discrimination. However, the bill still allows teachers to lead discussions on identity group subjects if incorporated into a broader course module.

Iowa’s move comes as a number of Republican-dominated state legislatures have enacted similar legislation to counter the infiltration of progressive ideology in public school instruction. For instance, the Texas House recently advanced a bill restricting the teaching of CRT. On the federal level, the House GOP recently proposed a bill to slash funding to schools that push for CRT.

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