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Melissa Peterson, the lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association, provided an end-of-session recap on Facebook. Peterson talked extensively about legislative efforts to end the indoctrination of public school students in Iowa.

Indoctrination, mind you, is the term used by many Iowa legislators. Peterson despises the term.

“The number of times this legislative session I had to listen to a legislator talk about how public schools are not supposed to indoctrinate children can only be described as disgusting and disappointing because that has not been my experience,” she said. “One of the things that public schools are supposed to do is to help enhance the critical thinking skills of our students.”

Peterson discussed legislation that ties a couple of bills — the free speech protection bill and divisive concepts bill — to accreditation. Essentially, if districts are not following those laws, they will jeopardize their accreditation as well as the state and federal funds they receive.

Peterson called it “very unfortunate” legislation. She said it also “unfortunately” includes a new opportunity for public input on “just about anything that a school district might be doing.”

“There is now a provision that would enable 10 percent of the eligible electorate within a school district, or 500 people, whichever number is less, to petition for a public hearing on just about any issue of interest,” she said. “If that issue happens to be curriculum, the school district is supposed to halt usage of materials and that curriculum for a period of 30 days or until the public hearing is held, whichever is less, and then make sure that they implement the appropriate resolution however the board ends up making a decision based off the public hearing.”

Peterson said it is an over-reaction and a continued infringement upon local control.

“Because there have been a number of divisive issues that have popped up this legislative session, there is a perspective by some legislators that school districts are doing things that are outside of their bounds or doing things that they don’t believe they ought to be doing in different areas of education,” Peterson said.

That is when she called the use of the term “indoctrination” disgusting” and “disappointing.” She said legislators are attempting to stifle those conversations and stymie critical thinking they try to encourage and develop within students in public schools.

“We are just going to frankly have to be smarter and figure out different ways to deal with these situations,” Peterson said. “And thankfully we do have, we have some different ideas on how we can do that.”

Here is the list of these “divisive” concepts that the legislation talks about:

*That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.
*That the USA and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist.
*That an individual, solely because of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
*That an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.
*That members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.
*That an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.
*That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
*That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.
*That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
*Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping.

Author: Jacob Hall