The governor of Georgia indicators a sequence of controversial schooling legal guidelines

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed several controversial education laws Thursday into law that, among other things, limit discussions about race in classrooms and allow transgender athletes to be banned from sports, reflecting a national Republican push to redefine American schools.

Kemp said the bills will increase transparency and give parents more say in their children’s education. But critics said the new laws would weaken public schools and leave them at the whim of politicians.

Among the measures signed into law is one mandating sweeping restrictions on how teachers deal with so-called “divisive concepts” like race and racism in the classroom, including that the US is “fundamentally racist.”

The same measure, dubbed the “Protect Students First Act,” also gives an athletic oversight committee the power to bar transgender kids from high school athletics.

Speaking at the Forsyth County Arts and Learning Center Thursday, Kemp said the bill protects “academic freedom” and ensures the “Georgia High School Association has the authority to protect fairness in school sports.”

“It ensures that the entire history of our state and our nation is taught accurately because here in Georgia, our classrooms will not be pawns of those indoctrinating our children with their partisan agendas,” he said.

Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, said at a video news conference Thursday morning that the organization’s legal teams “stand ready to defend the constitutional rights of students and educators if this law affects their ability to learn and teach.” restricts. ”

“We want to hear from educators, students and families about the implications of these laws,” she said.

Among the measures signed is a Parents’ Bill of Rights, which codifies the “fundamental right of parents to the education” of their children and states that information about a child’s education should not be withheld from parents.

It also allows for the removal of “harmful” books from school libraries and forces local school boards to institute a “grievance resolution process” for parents who dispute library materials.

Republican lawmakers and activists across the country have targeted curricula, calling for the removal of books dealing with racism or sexuality, most of which contain LGBTQ characters and themes.

School districts in 26 states have banned or opened investigations for more than 1,100 books, according to a report this month by PEN America, a literature and free speech advocacy group that compiled data on such bans from July through March.

Kemp said the state government has “put students and parents first by keeping woke politics out of the classroom and off the ballfields.”

“Standing up for the God-given potential of every child in our schools and protecting the teaching of liberty, liberty, opportunity and the American dream in the classroom should not be controversial,” Kemp said Thursday of the bills that sparked anger and Criticisms from Democrats, proponents and teachers’ groups.

“It shouldn’t be controversial to make sure parents have the final say in their child’s education,” Kemp said.

Other bills signed by Kemp allow retired teachers to return to high-need areas, ensure financial literacy is taught in schools, and increase tax credits for private school grants.

The ACLU of Georgia, along with other stakeholders and members of the school community, spoke out against the bills during a video press conference Thursday morning.

Jalaya Liles Dunn, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice project, said the bills set “a dangerous precedent that allows our democratic government to dictate, hide and censor accurate information that it doesn’t.” agree”.

“These bills were designed to distort the truth and clean up history at a time when awareness of systemic racism is growing,” she said.

Mitzi McAdam, a Forsyth County parent, said, “Many parents are currently feeling helpless in the face of this onslaught of legislation that is reducing the effectiveness of our public schools and exposing our children’s learning to the whims of partisan extremism.”

“The idea that certain parents with a certain belief system have the ability to oversee what students are being taught across the state is preposterous,” she said.

Aryani Duppada, a county high school student, asked, “Why is actual history that real people experienced taught so controversially? Why are politicians so afraid of students learning about real events that happened in our country?”

“These are critical times and black and brown students need to be supported and empowered,” she said.