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MCSD will inform employees about new laws | News, sports, jobs

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On July 1, a law went into effect banning ten concepts related to race and sex from public school curricula and diversity training, and the Marshalltown Community School District is preparing to educate its staff about the changes.

The topic of Critical Racial Theory, which examines the idea of ​​systemic racism and whether racial injustice is embedded in the institutions of society, has heated up across the country as public school boards see crowded boardrooms of public commentators concerned about indoctrination.

Teachers and students in Iowa have protested House File 802, the Republican-backed bill signed by Governor Kim Reynolds that targets critical racial theory by banning 10 concepts from teaching, such as the idea that the United States or the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist.

Proponents of the law refer to critical racial theory as discriminatory and indoctrinating, while the opposition claims the restrictions may induce teachers to avoid important issues related to race and gender in order to avoid a discrepancy. An amendment to the bill was passed that would allow schools to continue teaching “Sexism, Slavery, Racial Oppression, Racial Segregation or Racial Discrimination”.

MCSD Superintendent Theron Schutte and Head of Education Shauna Smith attended a nationwide conference with more than 100 educators on Wednesday to discuss and learn more about the new law.

Schutte said the district will spend time at the beginning of the school year helping teachers understand this, but said the law will not affect the school’s current curriculum. However, he believes this will ask educators questions about what they are allowed to teach.

“I think once we are able to convey our understanding of what this law says and does not say to our staff, we will continue the teaching on justice, diversity and inclusion as we have done before. ” said Schütte.

The areas in which teachers need to be familiar and conscientious about the new law will be in classroom discussions and courses with a political focus and current events.

Schutte said the controversial issues surrounding race and sex can still be safely discussed as long as the teaching adheres to historical facts, does not make anyone feel responsible for events like slavery, and does not promote a particular idea.

“I think the only way we would fall into something like this would be if people made a certain policy choice that is outside of the scope our curriculum speaks for.” said Schütte.

School staff will also be responsible for ensuring compliance with laws outside of the classroom, e.g. B. how it presents its views in public and on social media.

If a student takes a position on systemic racism during a class discussion, the teachers would not have to push the topic back, but would have to take several points of view and not focus on one side.

Schütte compared the new law to the separation of church and state.

“There was a time when that was an excuse never to do anything that looked, behaved, smelled or tasted like religion in schools.” said Schütte. “Well, we can teach about religions, we just have to make sure that we teach about all religions and not just focus on one religion, which would result in us indoctrinating children into that religion.”

Smith said Schutte’s analogy was the best way to hear the new law described. She believes that teachers are and become sensitive to politics related to current events.

“In my past there have been various situations in which teachers were politically neutral, but for whatever reason a student interpreted it differently and made it to the parents.” said blacksmith. “Some of these things can happen, but we want to make sure we’re solid and following House File 802 and make sure everyone is included, respected, and comfortable in this conversation.”

Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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