OEA’s testimony against HB 322 and HB 327

House Bill 322 and House Bill 327: Opponent Testimony
Ohio House State And Local Government Committee, September 22, 2021

Chair Wiggam, Ranking Member Kelly, and members of the State and Local Government Committee, my name is Scott DiMauro. I am a high school social studies teacher from Worthington with 16 years of classroom teaching experience and currently serving as President of the Ohio Education Association (OEA). Thank you for this opportunity to provide opponent testimony on HB 322.

HB 322 prohibits school districts, charter schools, and state agencies (including the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education) from teaching a range of concepts, which taken together appear to be intended to reference so-called “Critical Race Theory” (CRT). Students will not receive graduation credit for any course that includes a prohibited concept listed in the bill.

HB 322 also prohibits any classroom teacher, school administrator, or employee of a state agency, without respect to course content, from approving, making use of, or carrying out standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices that serve to “inculcate” the prohibited concepts.

The bill contains additional prohibitions against requiring 1) a teacher to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs, 2) making part of a course an activity involving social or public policy advocacy, or 3) accepting private funding to develop curriculum, purchase course materials, or provide training, professional development, or continuing education related to a course.

Neither the National Education Association (NEA) nor OEA advocate for teaching “CRT” to students. While there may be disagreement on the precise definition of “CRT,” OEA is clear in its advocacy to provide honesty in education for students and protect educators from harassment or fear for doing their jobs.

OEA as an organization believes that honesty and integrity are essential in the classroom because students deserve an honest and reflective education. Understanding the multiple perspectives and experiences that have shaped the country and the world to this point is the best tool we can give students to prepare them to interact with what is now an interconnected society and economy.

Likewise, this means creating an educational environment that invites diverse experiences and multiple perspectives, as well as providing the resources and materials for all students to engage fully with the standards-based curriculum.

In our locals, we are supporting efforts to help our members professionally in their efforts to create inclusive learning environments, celebrate diversity, and advocate for policies and programs that equitably meet all students’ needs.

Unfortunately, divisive and dishonest attacks have been targeted at school board members, administrators, and classroom educators in the media and in some of our communities. In fact, no students are being taught to be ashamed of who they are or who their ancestors were. Quite the opposite; they are being empowered to be proud of who they are, regardless of where they come from.

Teachers teach the state’s learning standards and district curriculum as they have been prepared and entrusted to do without censorship or intimidation. Those stoking this divisive rhetoric are trying to tell educators how to teach our kids.

Let’s trust Ohio’s local school districts, elected school board members, administrators, and professional classroom educators to do their jobs on behalf of students.

That concludes my testimony. I am happy to answer any questions you may have

Click here to download the submitted testimony as a pdf document