Valley News – NH House panel votes to kill ‘teacher loyalty’ bill banning negative reviews of US foundation

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Editor’s Note: This story was first published on New Hampshire Bulletin.

A bill barring New Hampshire teachers from advocating theories ‘promoting a negative narrative or portrayal of the founding and history of the United States of America’ seems unlikely to move forward this year after the House Education Committee recommended that he be killed on Tuesday.

HB 1255 would amend an area of ​​New Hampshire law titled “Teacher Loyalty” — a 1949 state law that prohibits teachers from advocating for communism — and expand it to include a ban on endorsing socialism or Marxism in the classroom.

The bill would also prevent the teaching of a negative narrative of America’s founding “that does not include the global context of now outdated and discouraged practices”, a reference to the practice of chattel slavery. “This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, teaching that the United States was founded on racism,” the bill says.

Violation of the proposed ban could result in professional sanctions against a teacher by the State Board of Education, according to the bill.

The bill became a political lightning rod as soon as it was introduced, bringing educators and school administrators into the House courtroom, who argued that it would usher in censorship of teachers.

But on Tuesday, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Alicia Lekas, a Republican from Hudson, led the charge to recommend his death, telling the committee he needed more time.

“I decided the best thing to do was to ‘ITL’ the whole thing and bring it back next year,” Lekas ​​said, referring to the recommendation that the bill would be deemed “inappropriate to legislate.” . The committee voted for this recommendation, 18-0.

Lekas ​​said that the fact that the bill amended the existing law on “teacher loyalty” created an optical problem for his supporters, as teachers bristled at the idea that their patriotism could be challenged. question.

“This bill as written was very poorly written,” Lekas ​​said. “And I just wanted the title ‘Teacher Loyalty’ to have to do with the law section and not with my title. There were a lot of emails, etc., that we’re trying to say the teachers weren’t loyal, and that has nothing to do with it.

Lekas ​​said she had produced an amendment intended to change the bill, which was prepared this week, but she said that amendment would not have time to be considered before the next legislative deadlines.

The bill will go next to the House floor this month with a unanimous recommendation that he be killed. Although the House may overrule this recommendation, the likelihood is slim.

HB 1255 followed a bill signed last year that bars teachers from teaching four core concepts related to racism and structural oppression. Democrats, who call the new statute a “banned concepts” law, say it will create a “chilling effect” for teachers that could cause them to drop important conversations about race. New Hampshire teachers’ unions have launched two separate lawsuits against the law in federal court. Republicans called the law an “anti-discrimination law” that they say protects students from being advantaged or disadvantaged because of their race.

So far, public records indicate that no teachers have been disciplined under the law, which also carries potential professional consequences for teachers at the Human Rights Commission and the National Council for Human Rights. ‘education.

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