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Who will determine what’s ‘divisive?’
Feb. 9, 2023 12:30 pm
Republican state Rep. Steve Holt of Denison is proposing legislation fining schools for discussing “divisive concepts” in classrooms.
Will Holt be the final arbiter of what’s “divisive?” How about giving that responsibility to “Moms for Liberty” or similar groups? Will what’s “divisive” be defined and codified, or, to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “We’ll know it when I see it?”
Might Iowa’s kids still get a chance to explore the themes of “Farewell to Manzanar,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “1984,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” “The Grapes of Wrath” or “Roots,” or are the issues they address too “divisive?” Perhaps curricula based on the vision of such classics as “Ozzie and Harriet” and “Leave it to Beaver” would paint a more palatable and calming vision of America for our schools?
It would seem that Holt believes critical thinking is a bad thing for our kids. Cogito, ergo, sum? Nah. Better for young Iowans to sit down, shut up, and learn what they’re told to learn.
Counterintuitively, Republicans in Des Moines might want to include Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” on their list of acceptable materials. Its vision of Gilead, an American fascist theocracy, can serve as a road map to a less divisive Iowa.
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