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Reactions to passage of “Teaching American Principles Act”

Berry Craig
Berry Craig

Numerous individuals and organizations spoke out against SB 138, the “Teaching American Principles Act,” after it was passed on Thursday by the Kentucky Senate. Here are some of those reactions.

KY 120 United – American Federation of Teachers

“We continue to be disappointed by the super majority and their attacks on public education. Senator Wise announced today in some vague comments that the education community apparently supports SB 138. We ask, which education community?

”The community we are from only sees the continued danger of taking away the voice of our teachers and damaging the enterprise of free thought and exploration that is the foundation of education.”

Dr. Rebecca Powell, Georgetown College

Dr. Powell is professor emeritus and former director of the Center for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy at Georgetown College. She is also a member of KY 120 United AFT.

“When state legislators feel free to dictate what students learn, it sets a very dangerous precedent. This occurs in authoritarian states, not in democratic ones. In passing SB 138, our legislators have chosen to circumvent their own regulations on how content standards are to be developed and approved in order to further a particular political agenda – one that is designed to fix a problem that never really existed.”

Kentucky Education Association

The passage of SB138 is another example of unnecessary overreach by legislators aimed at dictating how our educators teach. Kentucky educators are committed to providing a high-quality education for all students within the framework of the Kentucky Academic Standards. All Kentucky Academic Standards for all subjects, including social studies, are adopted through a robust and transparent process that include all stakeholders, including parents and the public. Kentucky’s Academic Standards are designed by active Kentucky educators, vetted by Kentucky citizens, approved by the Kentucky Board of Education, and finally, are approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. Kentucky Academic Standards reflect Kentucky values. Academic standards are age-appropriate and set out what concepts must be taught within each subject.

Curriculum is different from standards; standards determine what will be taught and curriculum determines how teaching will occur and what materials will be used. Decisions about curriculum have always been a matter of local control, which makes perfect sense: decisions about methods and materials used in a classroom are best made by those who are closest to the students. Different students need different things; curriculum decisions should be based on identified student needs, support student mastery, and enhance the school culture and learning environment. The General Assembly cannot possibly make informed decisions about those issues.

Kentucky educators are degreed, highly skilled, and highly trained professionals who are experts in teaching and learning. Kentucky educators are bound by the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky Certified Personnel, which requires that all educators must “strive for excellence, recognize the importance of the pursuit of truth, nurture democratic citizenship, and safeguard the freedom to learn and teach.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky

The ACLU-KY released their statement earlier, and we posted it here:

ACLU-KY Statement on Senate passage of classroom censorship bill
Statement from the ACLU about SB 138, the “Teaching American Principles Act”

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)


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