Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation Tuesday that bans the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in Iowa public schools and universities. The move comes as Republican lawmakers across the country seek to tamp down the Marxist ideology in American classrooms.
“Critical Race Theory is about labels and stereotypes, not education. It teaches kids that we should judge others based on race, gender or sexual identity, rather than the content of someone’s character,” Reynolds said in a statement. “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”
While each school district may “continue training that fosters a workplace and learning environment that is respectful of all employees and students,” the new legislation mandates that “the superintendent of each school district shall ensure that any curriculum or mandatory staff or student training provided by an employee of the school district or by a contractor hired by the school district does not teach, advocate, encourage, promote, or act upon specific stereotyping and scapegoating toward others on the basis of demographic group membership or identity.”
In addition to the ban on CRT, the bill prohibits school and college faculty from discriminating against students or fellow employees based on political ideology. Moreover, the law requires that school inclusion and diversity training must also discourage this form of discrimination.
State Democrats opposed the measure, arguing that treating all people with respect and refusing to stereotype them based on their skin color “limits crucial conversations.”
“That is closing our eyes and trying to pretend that if we don’t say ‘implicit bias,’ it doesn’t exist, or we don’t say ‘systemic racism,’ we can pretend we don’t have that,” said Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton.
The new law is set to go into effect on July 1.