The Indiana House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory, which examines history, culture and the law through the lens of race and identity.
The bill would also require districts to post curriculum materials online and establish a curriculum advisory committee.
Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, one of the bill's sponsors, said parents should be able to weigh in on what their kids are learning.
"The overriding intent of this bill is to provide curricular transparency," Cook asserted. "As well as to empower parents by returning them the opportunity to participate in the curriculum process."
Indiana's bills are part of a national push by Republican lawmakers to restrict the teaching of Critical Race Theory in classrooms. Education Week reports more than a dozen states have enacted such policies. Democrats and social justice organizations say the measures are an attempt to sweep portions of America's history under the proverbial rug.
Rep. Tonya Pfaff, D-Terre Haute, a teacher with nearly three decades of classroom experience, said she received more than 900 emails urging her to vote against the bill.
"Students are not fragile," Pfaff argued. "They want to learn, and they want their teacher to be honest about the uncomfortable truths of the past and the present."
Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, argued discomfort is necessary to promote change.
"The only way you can get people to change is through two ways: either dissatisfaction, and that's discomfort, or through agitation, and that's discomfort," Smith contended.
The bill now goes on to the Senate for further consideration, where The Associated Press reported it faces an uncertain future. A similar bill in the senate died after one of its authors drew national attention for arguing teachers should be impartial when teaching about Nazism.