Protect Honesty in Education

The nation faces a growing campaign to prohibit and censor honesty in education.

Position

The League of Women Voters of Ohio STRONGLY OPPOSES any threat to honesty in education at any level; and opposes and any efforts that endanger principles and practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including anti-discrimination, anti-racism, anti-hate, multiculturalism, and cultural proficiency. 

Learn more about LWV's principles and positions and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education

When educators explore difficult issues, include diverse perspectives, promote self-awareness, and incorporate into their teaching the identities, experiences and cultures of their students it strengthens the learning process and improves educational outcomes because it:

 

  • Promotes student emotional well-being.

  • Drives academic achievement.

  • Teaches students to advocate for themselves.

  • Prepares students to participate in shaping their lives, their communities and the future.

  • Strengthens relationships, fosters empathy, and builds community.

  • Inspires reconciliation, healing, and growth

 

Therefore, learn more about why LWVO opposes such legislation….

In Ohio, honesty in education faces 3 threats . . .

Censorship Bills: Ohio House Bills 322327, and 616 are three pending bills seeking to censor honest education and discussion about history, race, racism, sexuality, and gender identity across Ohio K-12 schools, state higher education, state agencies, and political subdivisions. 

Rather than ensuring ALL students receive a high-quality honest education and providing essential support and resources to vulnerable students, key state leaders and certain members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) are eroding those supports and unduly influencing State Board operations and priorities.

Recently, there has been growing opposition to Honesty in Education and DEI efforts in local districts based on a misunderstanding of the work itself, and a political strategy to misrepresent the work as Critical Race Theory. Some community residents are labeling professional educators as “Marxist” and their schools “indoctrination centers” for simply teaching students inclusive, complete, and accurate accounts of history and modern events, and honoring each child's identity, experience, and culture.

To learn more about the issues and find the latest action alerts visit: Honesty for Ohio Education

Honesty for Ohio Education is a nonpartisan, statewide coalition that partners with diverse education stakeholders across the state to champion honest education and affirm cultures and identity in the classroom.  As a coalition, we solicit input and feedback from partners and allies, prioritize diverse perspectives and experiences, and commit to learning and growing to advance our work. 

Honesty Partners include state and local organizations, students, families, educators, legal professionals, healthcare providers, civic leaders, and faith communities.

Why LWVO Opposes Legislation to Limit Discussion in the Classroom

DISHONEST EDUCATION

This legislation severely curtails the ability of educators, community leaders and students to fully examine our history, our art and literature, and our social constructs. By confining education to one viewpoint and preventing open discourse, they stifle learning and reduce education to propaganda, and diminish the ability of educators to help students address facts in an open environment that nourishes intellectual growth. This robs students of the full benefit of their education as a resource for citizenship and productive adult lives. It is a grave disservice to our students and educators, our forefathers and foremothers, our communities, our future, and principles of democracy.

DISEMPOWERS EDUCATORS

This legislation interferes with the autonomy and academic freedom individual instructors need to present their subject matter in a way that challenges yet supports their students. K-12 and post-secondary educators already operate within the academic goals set by the state, their discipline, and their community. Our academic leaders must have the ability to address the needs of their students without dictates from non-educators that are not founded in reality or history, and are motivated by political interests rather than intellectual growth for students.

REJECTS LOCAL CONTROL

This legislation strips local school boards of the ability to determine the educational materials, subject matter, and professional development that can be used to meet the needs and demands of individual communities, a flagrant rejection of our tradition of local control.  This state overreach is a form of censorship and puts control into the hands of a few partisan individuals who cannot appropriately gauge the needs of Ohio’s diverse school.

DEVALUES STUDENTS

This legislation assumes that students are unable to process new ideas, weigh evidence and information, and draw meaningful conclusions for themselves. By prohibiting open discussion of current events, civil and human rights, and past and present sources of inequality and division in our society, this legislation assumes that students are unable to process new ideas, weigh evidence and information, and draw meaningful conclusions. This dummies down education. It suppresses one of the most important goals of education, to prepare students for informed participation in our society and democracy.

 

By strictly limiting the kind of discussion that is acceptable, the legislation promotes an a-moral understanding of history and makes it illegal to pass on core beliefs about freedom, citizenship, and equality.

DISHONORS IDENTITY & CULTURE

Teaching about many cultures is nothing to fear.  It develops a shared understanding that can bridge divides. By barring exploration of diversity, equity and inclusion, the legislature seeks to deny the reality that race and identity are relevant to life experiences and our history. It encourages a know-nothing denial of reality which is antithetical to the purpose of education and detrimental to social cohesion and the aspirations of our democracy.

PREVENTS PROGRESS

This legislation restricts the ability of education to inform the future. Without a full understand of our history and the conflicts and power dynamics that shaped it, our present is without context. If the next generation is to shape our future, their education must be grounded in what has passed before and what we see today.

BAD GOVERNANCE

Enforcement of these provisions is costly, distracting, and subject to abuse.

VAGUE & SUBJECTIVE LANGUAGE

The consequences for violations are extreme compared to the assumed damage, and compared to other authentic concerns such as child abuse.

 

Using complaints from children and families to activate enforcement is dangerous. It destroys the trusting relationship within the classroom that drives effective learning and meaningful resolution of disagreements. It subjects educators to the unhealthy possibility of being the object of a witch hunt.

 

By connecting serious consequences to instruction this legislation makes teaching a dangerous profession. It could make the current teacher shortage even worse.

OVERBURDENS ADMINISTRATORS

The legislation places a heavy burden on the Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, and the Chancellor of Higher Education to enforce laws that contradict the purposes, ethics, and standards of the institutions that they lead.