Ryan Williamson, the Equity & Inclusion Coordinator at the Urbandale School District, told staff this week that House File 802 will not “stop our forward progress.”
“In no way, shape or form is 802 going to stop us from doing the work that we know is very valuable to supporting all of our babies,” Williamson said. “OK? I want to make sure that I emphasize that. The things and the tenents that 802 speaks to, it’s not going to change anything that we are currently doing, any of our current practices — we may just have to use different language as we think about 802. But it’s not going to stop anything that we are currently doing.”
Williamson said he had conversations with other equity and inclusion coordinators across the state — including locally with Ames, Ankeny and Johnston.
“Where 802 started is it was divisive concepts,” he said. “OK? It was divisive concepts. And a lot of people out there would take privilege as a divisive concept. So, what we did is we took that term ‘privilege’ and we changed the language up a little bit. Now when we talk about privilege, we say we demonstrated how we individually collectively impact the world. Or bias – associate how our lived experiences…if you break down bias, what is bias? Bias is based on our own lived experiences. Our own personal and socialized identity. That’s what it is. So we just changed the language a little bit. (Inaudible) still talk about these things, we just have to be very mindful of the language that we use. Ok? In our classrooms, back in our spaces, when we’re reaching out to parents and guardians, etc. We just have to be very mindful of 802. But it doesn’t say, at no point, does 802 say we can no longer do the work that we have been doing. We just have to think about it a little bit differently. OK?”
House File 802 prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting training or curricula that promotes coercive political indoctrination and racism and sexism within Iowa’s universities, public schools, local governments and state government departments — according to Iowa House Republicans.
In July, Iowa House Republicans explained why they passed House File 802:
“Critical Race Theory is a Marxist inspired dogma that has converted a surprisingly high number of people in government, corporate and educational leadership positions. They are using those positions to engage in coercive political advocacy inside the workplace and inside K-12 schools and universities to reeducate young and old into their political and cultural worldview.
House File 802 was passed to reassert that the basis of public education values is found in the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and its Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not in a theory dreamed up by left-wing activists.
Key among those values it is the ideal of meritocracy. Throughout American history our leaders realized this ideal needed support. That is why the legal protections found in the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Iowa Code Chapter 216 are in place. They represent the progress made towards the American ideal of equality found in the Declaration of Independence and MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Yet, CRT trainings are taking place and curriculum is being taught that discriminates on the basis of race and sex.
Social justice is just a synonym for the principles of critical race theory. Teachers are pressured to be overt advocates for social justice using CRT. As such, objectivity in the classroom is seen as moral failing. CRT advocates see objectivity in the classroom as a barricade to their truth. CRT advocates are constrained by classroom objectivity and
therefore objectivity is a barrier to their righteous moral crusade to rid the world of racism and should be justifiably removed.