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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will sign several controversial new education bills on Thursday, including bills that ban books and prevent “divisive concepts” from being taught.
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Among the more controversial legislation that Kemp is expected to sign into law are a new Parents Bill of Rights, a bill that “prevents divisive concepts and ideologies from invading the classroom” and one that removes “obscene materials” from school libraries.
Supporters of the Parents’ Bill of Rights say the legislation increases transparency in Georgia’s public schools by guaranteeing parental access to student records including teachers’ instructional materials.
But Democrats insists parents already have those rights under Georgia law, and that this will place an undue bureaucratic burden on teachers. They said this bill is nothing more than election-year rhetoric.
“It’s bumper sticker legislation of the worst kind,” said State Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Atlanta. “Teachers are going to pay the price.”
Supporters of a bill to prevent divisive concepts from entering the classroom believe it would prevent teachers from inserting their own political beliefs by banning the teaching of nine so-called divisive concepts. State Rep. Will Wade, R-Dawsonville, insists teachers could still teach about topics like slavery and civil rights but only in an academic context.
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“This bill is focused on protecting students from the far radical ideologies that the media promulgates,” Wade said.
It’s unclear what books would be targeted under the “obscene materials” law.
Kemp will also sign bills to ensure school board meetings are transparent, double the cap on student scholarship organization donations, create a commission on civics education to ensure financial literacy is taught in schools, and allow retired teachers to return to the classroom full time in high-need areas.