Holcomb signals some support for contentious education bills

Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday showed some support for controversial proposals passing through the legislature that ban transgender girls from competing in K-12 girls and impose restrictions on the teaching of racism and political issues.

The Republican governor told reporters he was waiting for the final versions of these bills, although the Republican-dominated state Senate could vote as early as Thursday to send a transgender sports bill to his desk to sign the law or veto it.

Holcomb pointed to the Indiana High School Athletic Association, whose policies apply to transgender students who want to play sports that match their gender identity, and said no transgender girl has completed an application to play in the women’s team.

“I strongly agree that boys should play youth sports and girls should play girls, and mixed sports should be that,” Holcombe said, referring to the sex of a person at birth. “So as we create real language and support organizations like IHSAA that have done a great job to date, we need to make sure they can continue to do just that.”

If Holcombe signs the bill, Indiana will become at least the 11th Republican-led state to impose such a ban on transgender women and girls in sports. Some other Republican-led states are also considering such bans.

Holcomb shied away from a public stance on the education bill, which Republicans say will increase transparency in classroom teaching and which opponents say will be used to censor teachers and force them to do unnecessary extra work. On Wednesday, he said he was still considering the proposal.

The Senate Education Committee voted Wednesday to promote the bill, which it rejected last week after weeks of intense criticism from teachers and public school advocates. The proposal is now being sent to the full Senate.

“I think the bill where it is now is a significant improvement on where it started, with an emphasis, rightly, on transparency and parental involvement, and therefore anything that encourages parental involvement in the education of their students in the future. our state is a good thing, ”Holcomb said. “However, I will follow every word.”

Wednesday’s amendment introduced minor changes to the bill, including an addition to the “good citizenship” clause that would allow teachers to condemn historical injustices such as slavery and the Nazis, whom they worried they would not be allowed to do.

The Senate Education Committee rejected half a dozen other amendments proposed by Democrats. They included proposals to send the issue of curriculum transparency to a special training commission, which will meet after this year’s session.

The Indiana Teachers Association, the largest teachers ’union in the state, continues to oppose the amended bill.

“The foundations of this bill are still based on the false story that teachers cannot be trusted,” ISTA President Keith Gambil said in a statement.

The current version of the bill will ensure that parents have access to their child’s school learning management system and allow them to view any other learning materials used in their child’s classroom upon request. Parents could ask the school board to accept a parent committee to review the curriculum, although this is not required.

The bill would also allow parents to appeal to the Indiana Department of Education to take administrative action for the violation if they remain dissatisfied after reviewing the complaint at their child’s school.

The bill further stipulates that schools will be prohibited from teaching that one group is inherently superior or inferior to another, that one group should be treated negatively or overwhelmingly, and that people, by virtue of their traits, are “responsible” for the past actions of others. individuals who share their traits. Proponents say this means teachers can teach about slavery, but not that white people should treat slavery badly, for example.

Despite calls from teachers and mental health advocates to amend components of the bill that would limit the social and emotional learning services provided to students, the provision added to the bill on Wednesday only requires a special study committee to make recommendations for mental, social -emotional and psychological services in schools.

Senator Linda Rogers, a Republican from Granger who sponsored the bill, said the decision was a reflection of her “many, many conversations with voters, parents, caregivers and those working in mental health.”

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