Students in Arkansas are about to be banned from learning about the major social and political movements that comprise American history. A pair of bills by Rep. Mark Lowery (Maumelle) would prohibit schools and universities from teaching anything that involves race, gender, political affiliation, or any class of people. In particular, Lowery is seeking to stop students from learning about the role of slavery in antebellum society.
HB1218 bans schools and academic institutions from having classes, events, or activities that have anything to do with race, gender, political affiliation, social class, or any class or group of people. This bill would ban school groups and clubs like Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Republicans, and the new Girls Who Code clubs — in addition to the likely targeted groups of this bill like the Gay Straight Alliance. The Republican bill would strip schools of their funding if they don’t comply.
HB1231 bans educators in Arkansas from analyzing and teaching anything related to the 1619 Project. 1619 refers to the year that African slaves first were forcibly brought to the shores of what would become the United States.
These bills constitute an unprecedented intrusion by the Arkansas Legislature into the classrooms of our schools and places of higher education. It will hinder the enrichment and capabilities of Arkansas students who would only receive a limited, skewed version of historical events and social realities that omit major trends and topics of importance.
Importantly, if these bills become law they will also harm Arkansas’s reputation and thus its ability to retain and attract talented entrepreneurs and professionals.
Contact these members of the House Education Committee and tell them to vote NO & to protect education in Arkansas!