Narrowing the scope

GOP power play spells disaster for education


Lonzo Montgomery

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Lonzo Montgomery, Public Relations & Social Media Manager

Senate Bills 178 and 83 are threatening to change the future of education as we know it. No, that is not a catastrophizing statement, it is the truth.

Currently, the Ohio State Board of Education controls the mandatory curriculum for the state of Ohio. However, Senate Bill 178, primarily sponsored by Sen. Bill Reinike, would move that power into the hands of a new cabinet-level position.

The proposed position is the Department of Education and Workforce. With the duty of deciding curriculum going solely to this position, the only things the State Board of Education could control would be choosing the state school superintendent, supervising teacher licensing, hearing cases about staff misconduct, and making decisions on school property transfers.

This decision wouldn’t just stop at the elementary and high school levels. Bill 83, The Higher Education Enhancement Act, would target colleges too. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Cirino, would require all “state institutions of higher learning” to guarantee intellectual diversity in the classroom and free speech protections for students, faculty, and staff. 

The truth is, my bill is simply designed to ensure free expression on campus and in the classroom,” Cirino said.

At first, these things don’t sound bad. Ensuring that all institutions are a place of free speech and thought would be great.

However, the bill also stipulates that there may be no requirements for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) training for students, staff, or faculty; colleges must provide full transparency about syllabi including all assignments and readings; and no political or ideological litmus testing is permitted during staff hirings and promotions or student admissions decisions.

When DE&I training is taken away, it opens up the floor to hateful speech that people will claim to be free speech. No political or ideological litmus testing means there will be no filter for discriminatory opinions that only cause disruption in the classroom and harm to anyone in the community where such things are being said.

If these bills are passed, the very way that students are prepared to enter the “real world” will be narrowed down to the perspective of those in power.

The world is a complex place bursting with variety. A variety of people, languages, customs, and beliefs. The purpose of schools is to educate and prepare children so that they can be active participants in it. However, conservative lawmakers want to narrow the scope of what students can be taught in classrooms and therefore narrow the scope of the world. 

The passing of these bills would mean bidding farewell to classes like AP African American Studies and classes that discuss sexuality and gender identity, as has been seen in Florida. 

Lawmakers are making it so that instead of education serving its purpose, it is a means to gain absolute control. 

Even though a lot of us as students aren’t of voting age, there is still a lot we can do. Contact your representatives and tell them what you think should be done. You are their constituents too and so they work for you, even if you didn’t vote to put them in power.