ATLANTA — Georgia Republicans this week explained why they want to control how race is discussed in classrooms, while Democrats pushed for evidence schools are mishandling the issue.

State Assemblyman Will Wade, a Republican from Dawsonville, said House Bill 1084 was a preventative measure and would provide parents with a formal grievance mechanism to consider racial and policy concerns reaching classrooms.

“This is a proactive law,” he said during a hearing Wednesday, in response to questions from a Democrat who didn’t see the issue.

Rep. Doreen Carter of Lithonia had asked Wade why the legislation was necessary.

“Even after listening to you, I still don’t understand what brought us here,” she said. “If there’s a bill, we usually try to solve something or fix something.”

Earlier this week, Senator Bo Hatchett, a Cornelia Republican, told the Senate Education Committee why Senate Bill 377, similar legislation he introduced, was necessary.

As with Wade’s bill, it would ban the teaching of nine “divisive concepts.” They are defined as gross treatment of ethnic or racial groups, such as B. the idea that people are responsible for the actions of others of the same color, ethnicity, or race.

“If your grandfather was a murderer in the past, should you be taught that because of the color of your skin and because your grandfather committed those crimes, you inherit them?” Said Hatchett. “Absolutely not.”

Both bills would also prohibit teaching that the United States is “fundamentally racist.”

Camden Hughes, 18, said after watching the Senate hearing that she grew up in the part of North Georgia that Hatchett represents. She said there were tensions between white and Hispanic residents, who largely live apart.

“I feel like it’s very uncomfortable living together in the same community, so I think that’s a real issue that he’s trying to address,” said Hughes, who is white with parents who emigrated from Lebanon are. She doesn’t agree with his actions.

“He chooses to ignore it instead of tackling it head on,” she said.

Many who commented on Wade’s bill during this hearing said the legislation was a solution to finding a problem and could hinder teachers.

“We split our students into topics that don’t exist. We hide their story,” said Joshua Anthony, a freshman at Georgia State University.

The subcommittee hearing Wade’s bill forwarded it to the full Education Committee, which heard it again later Wednesday without a vote. The Senate committee hearing Hatchett’s SB 377 also did not vote. No bill will advance to the scheduled voting hearing.



Senate Bill 375: Bans divisive concepts in workers’ education for schools and state and local government agencies.

Senate Bill 377: Would penalize schools that teach divisive concepts by withholding up to 10% of their state funding. Colleges and universities could lose an unspecified amount. It also aims to train workers for government agencies.

House Bill 1084: Would allow the state board of education to penalize districts that teach divisive concepts by removing their access to waivers from the state education law. All but two of the 180 school districts have them.

House Bill 888: School districts would withdraw 20% of their state funding for violations. It does not use the word “divisive”, but the wording of the concepts it would ban is similar.


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