December 5, 2021

Update: Senate Panel OKs Bill Preventing Honesty In Teaching

Update: Senate Panel OKs Bill Preventing Honesty In Teaching Featured Image

The Senate Education Committee has voted along party lines to advance legislation that would prevent educators from providing age-appropriate, honest and complete history in K-12 schools. The bill (SB 411/AB 411) is part of a national push against educators teaching honestly about our society in a historical context, including systemic racial inequality and how people have organized and created coalitions across race, class and gender.

WEAC is opposed to the bill to allow politicians, not the educators who know students’ names, to determine what and how to teach. The companion bill has already passed the Assembly.

One supporter of that bill, Representative Chuck Wichgers, provided testimony in favor of that bill that included nearly 100 terms and concepts that would, or potentially would, violate the proposed law including:

  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Anti-Racism
  • Anti-Biased Training
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Diversity Training
  • Educational Justice
  • Equity
  • Implicit/Explicit Bias

Read Representative Wichger’s complete testimony, including the full scope of terms and concepts targeted under the bill.

A similar bill (AB 413 / SB 409) to prevent honesty in teaching at the university and technical college level is up for a vote by the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee. The committee earlier this session received testimony on this bill to ban teaching critical race theory at the UW System and state technical colleges. The bill would also prohibit race and sex stereotyping in training provided to university and technical college employees. Ten percent of state aid would be withheld from any campus that violated the provisions. Students and employees also would be allowed to sue over alleged violations and would be eligible to receive attorney fees if successful. The companion bill was referred to the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee. WEAC has registered against the bill.

Vetoed by Governor Evers

Posting Learning Materials Online (SB 463/AB 488). Would require school boards to post information on learning materials online. The learning materials would be required to be organized by subject area, grade level and teacher. Districts wouldn’t have to post teachers’ lesson plans under an amendment to the bill, though the materials covered would include syllabi, outlines and handouts.

Introduced in the Senate

Mental Health Aid (SB-731). School mental health and pupil wellness aid, funding for the University of Wisconsin System, and making an appropriation. Referred to Senate Universities & Technical Colleges

Mental Health Grants (SB-732). School-based mental health services grants. Referred to Senate Education

Student Mental Health (SB-735). Training to address student mental health, funding for the University of Wisconsin System and special education, and making an appropriation. Referred to Senate Universities & Technical Colleges

Abuse Prevention Education (SB-746). Requiring sexual abuse prevention education. Referred to Senate Education

Circulating for Co-Sponsorship

UW System core general education requirements (LRB-5247/1). This bill specifies that, if any University of Wisconsin System institution requires that core general education courses include a course in diversity or ethnic studies, this requirement may be satisfied by a student’s successful completion of a course in the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

Rehired Teachers (LRB-5077). Rehired annuitant teachers. Memo

Teaching Grants (LRB-5126). Grants to support the teaching of college courses in high schools and making an appropriation. Memo