A rural Iowa school could become a test case for a state law that bars teaching divisive concepts

cigaretteman

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A class on social justice in literature taught at a rural Iowa high school could become the first test case for a year-old law that forbids 'divisive concepts' from being taught in the classroom.

On June 14, Baxter Community School District officials received a letter from the America First Policy Institute on behalf of parent Christie Wiebbecke asking for the elective social justice in literature class to be immediately discontinued.

In its letter, the institute argues the class violates the 2021 law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds because a teacher has final approval over books students choose to study.

“School should prepare students for citizenship in our constitutional republic and colorblind society," said Craig Trainor, senior litigation counsel at the institute, in a news release. "Not turn impressionable children into social justice warriors who view all that is good and just through the distorted lens of race, sex, gender, power, and politics.”


The institute is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates for policies that "put the American people first" and is guided by "liberty, free enterprise and national greatness."

It's unclear what action the district might take, or what might happen if the class continues unchanged.

Baxter schools' Superintendent Mickolyn Clapper declined to comment on the letter because it is under review by legal counsel.


The 477-student school district is located in Jasper County and is about 33 miles northeast of Des Moines.

According to the district's course catalog, the literature class gives students a chance to "use a social justice lens to analyze contemporary young adult fiction" and create a final project focused on "social justice in their own lives and community."

The complaint comes at a time when lawmakers in Iowa and around the country are continuing to introduce and pass legislation that aims to bar some books and learning materials from being used in schools and curb what conversations and topics teachers can broach in the classroom.



The 2021 Iowa law states students cannot be taught that the United States or Iowa are “fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist," or that people of any race or sex “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past” by people of the same race or sex.

The law was introduced in an effort to stop critical race theory from being taught in Public schools.

Critical race theory — which became a catchall phrase for topics that deal with race and equity— is a concept taught in law schools that examines how slavery's legacy continues to influence American society.


The Iowa Department of Education also received a copy of the institute's letter, but has not been asked to take any action, said Heather Doe, a department spokesperson.

Doe advises people to try and work with district officials and school boards to resolve any concerns. People can also make a formal request to the school board.

"If a local school board makes a decision on a formal request, it may be subject to administrative review by the state Board of Education or the director of the department and/or to further challenge in district court," she said.

 

TC Nole OX

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Why don’t they just call it a madras and only let the kids read the Bible and watch Fox/Newsmax/ONN? That seems to be the only was to placate the backwards republican right. Instead of PE, they can have AR-15 shooting time. Instead of learning multiplication and spelling, they can learn the latest slogans and right wing talking points.
 

abby97

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Why don’t they just call it a madras and only let the kids read the Bible and watch Fox/Newsmax/ONN? That seems to be the only was to placate the backwards republican right. Instead of PE, they can have AR-15 shooting time. Instead of learning multiplication and spelling, they can learn the latest slogans and right wing talking points.
Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
 

globalhawk

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
Students aren’t being forced to take this class. It’s an elective.
 

lucas80

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It's funny in a sad way that the clerics say that they want a colorblind society. Whites only is what they mean.
Kids in rural Iowa already have enough disadvantages. It's sad that the GQP is trying to saddle them with more.
Funny in a sad way that they hold liberty to be a core value of theirs. Liberty for them. Everyone else gets the heel of the boot.
 

Tom Paris

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
Projection.
 

StormHawk42

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
It’s a f*****g elective. Maybe the parents should check their kids’ schedules
 

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
Education is as much about “critical thinking skills” as it is about reading’, writing’ and ‘rithmaric. Obviously this is “an elective” course taught by the district, therefore acknowledging the course is not for everyone. If the thought of tge ckass offends you….simply don’t enroll in it. How tough if a concept is it for you to comprehend Abby? If you wanna remain ignorant, go for it… but for those who want to develop themselves, shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?
 

RileyHawk

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Education is as much about “critical thinking skills” as it is about reading’, writing’ and ‘rithmaric. Obviously this is “an elective” course taught by the district, therefore acknowledging the course is not for everyone. If the thought of tge ckass offends you….simply don’t enroll in it. How tough if a concept is it for you to comprehend Abby? If you wanna remain ignorant, go for it… but for those who want to develop themselves, shouldn’t they be allowed to do so?
Abby and his ilk don't just want freedom to choose for themselves, they want the right to choose for you as well.
 

EasyHawk

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I'm shocked this is in the Baxter curriculum. That is hard core Trump country. I would be very surprised if 80% of that area didn't vote for Trump.
 

Aardvark86

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Jan 23, 2018
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A class on social justice in literature taught at a rural Iowa high school could become the first test case for a year-old law that forbids 'divisive concepts' from being taught in the classroom.

On June 14, Baxter Community School District officials received a letter from the America First Policy Institute on behalf of parent Christie Wiebbecke asking for the elective social justice in literature class to be immediately discontinued.

In its letter, the institute argues the class violates the 2021 law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds because a teacher has final approval over books students choose to study.

“School should prepare students for citizenship in our constitutional republic and colorblind society," said Craig Trainor, senior litigation counsel at the institute, in a news release. "Not turn impressionable children into social justice warriors who view all that is good and just through the distorted lens of race, sex, gender, power, and politics.”


The institute is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates for policies that "put the American people first" and is guided by "liberty, free enterprise and national greatness."

It's unclear what action the district might take, or what might happen if the class continues unchanged.

Baxter schools' Superintendent Mickolyn Clapper declined to comment on the letter because it is under review by legal counsel.


The 477-student school district is located in Jasper County and is about 33 miles northeast of Des Moines.

According to the district's course catalog, the literature class gives students a chance to "use a social justice lens to analyze contemporary young adult fiction" and create a final project focused on "social justice in their own lives and community."

The complaint comes at a time when lawmakers in Iowa and around the country are continuing to introduce and pass legislation that aims to bar some books and learning materials from being used in schools and curb what conversations and topics teachers can broach in the classroom.



The 2021 Iowa law states students cannot be taught that the United States or Iowa are “fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist," or that people of any race or sex “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past” by people of the same race or sex.

The law was introduced in an effort to stop critical race theory from being taught in Public schools.

Critical race theory — which became a catchall phrase for topics that deal with race and equity— is a concept taught in law schools that examines how slavery's legacy continues to influence American society.


The Iowa Department of Education also received a copy of the institute's letter, but has not been asked to take any action, said Heather Doe, a department spokesperson.

Doe advises people to try and work with district officials and school boards to resolve any concerns. People can also make a formal request to the school board.

"If a local school board makes a decision on a formal request, it may be subject to administrative review by the state Board of Education or the director of the department and/or to further challenge in district court," she said.

What a maroon. one might not like SJ-driven curricula, but whatever else you might think, it is maroonic to suggest that somehow citizenship education is mutually exclusive with such a course.
 
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EasyHawk

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Do you know the contents of the course? Lots of crying about the name of the class.
I don't know anything about the course except what was in the article: According to the district's course catalog, the literature class gives students a chance to "use a social justice lens to analyze contemporary young adult fiction" and create a final project focused on "social justice in their own lives and community." And I'm not crying about anything related to it, I'm just saying knowing that school district, I am surprised it is being offered. If you have ever been to Baxter and surrounding area, it is very, very far right.
 
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globalhawk

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I don't know anything about the course except what was in the article: According to the district's course catalog, the literature class gives students a chance to "use a social justice lens to analyze contemporary young adult fiction" and create a final project focused on "social justice in their own lives and community." And I'm not crying about anything related to it, I'm just saying knowing that school district, I am surprised it is being offered. If you have ever been to Baxter and surrounding area, it is very, very far right.
Got it.
 

soybean

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
But indoctrination is exactly what you support here, only it is YOUR view of how the kids should think.
 

BioHawk

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.
So teaching people about our history, even the not great parts of it, is indoctrination? The sad part is you know stuff like Jim Crow laws, book banning, and slavery are morally reprehensible but you want to do this anyway because, evidently, you don't want kids to know that these things are morally reprehensible or to think critically about them and why we shouldn't be doing them again.
 

Jim Grizzly

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So teaching people about our history, even the not great parts of it, is indoctrination? The sad part is you know stuff like Jim Crow laws, book banning, and slavery are morally reprehensible but you want to do this anyway because, evidently, you don't want kids to know that these things are morally reprehensible or to think critically about them and why we shouldn't be doing them again.
It's not like interracial marriage was made legal (by court ruling, not votes) in 1958...amrica has always and will always be perfect....

AL Frankin summed it up perfectly... Republicans love the country like a 5 year old loves their mommy. They can do no wrong.
 

abby97

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So teaching people about our history, even the not great parts of it, is indoctrination? The sad part is you know stuff like Jim Crow laws, book banning, and slavery are morally reprehensible but you want to do this anyway because, evidently, you don't want kids to know that these things are morally reprehensible or to think critically about them and why we shouldn't be doing them again.
No, I was taught those things in school, I just don't want people like you teaching it because the students would obviously get only the anti American version. You do know understand those things are in our past right, they are history? No people like you believe slavery and Jim Crow are ongoing.
 

Jim Grizzly

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So is there a class coming from a pro-American traditional values perspective? I doubt it.
You're free to get your education degree (is that even required in Iowa?) and design and implement just such a class! Oh, you don't like it when you actually have to be the change.
 
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abby97

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What does this even mean?
That despite our past we have progressed, laws have changed, we elected a black president twice for crying out loud. We have labor laws, laws against discrimination, but the left only wants to focus on the negative. We are still the greatest country on the planet even though the left would never admit that. People are forcing themselves into China or North Korea. Wake up.
 
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soybean

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That despite our past we have progressed, laws have changed, we elected a black president twice for crying out loud. We have labor laws, laws against discrimination, but the left only wants to focus on the negative. We are still the greatest country on the planet even though the left would never admit that. People are forcing themselves into China or North Korea. Wake up.
Is trying to improve the greatest country in the world wrong?
 

globalhawk

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That despite our past we have progressed, laws have changed, we elected a black president twice for crying out loud. We have labor laws, laws against discrimination, but the left only wants to focus on the negative. We are still the greatest country on the planet even though the left would never admit that. People are forcing themselves into China or North Korea. Wake up.
No, I was taught those things in school, I just don't want people like you teaching it because the students would obviously get only the anti American version. You do know understand those things are in our past right, they are history? No people like you believe slavery and Jim Crow are ongoing.
You really need help. It’s an elective class for those that are interested in the topic. You don’t like the topic so the class shouldn’t exist. One parent in this school district has the ability to shutdown a class. Other students and parents don’t have a say?
 

abby97

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You really need help. It’s an elective class for those that are interested in the topic. You don’t like the topic so the class shouldn’t exist. One parent in this school district has the ability to shutdown a class. Other students and parents don’t have a say?
Do you work for Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, because they have the same policy as you, don't agree with a topic, delete it, cancel the author.
 

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
No, I was taught those things in school, I just don't want people like you teaching it because the students would obviously get only the anti American version. You do know understand those things are in our past right, they are history? No people like you believe slavery and Jim Crow are ongoing.
Thinking "critically" is NOT synonymous with patriotic of jingoistic thinking. Critical thinking sometimes involves unpopular or new ideas and thoughts.
abby....what YOU believe and how you think may be popular with some but I seriously doubt it is the "gold standard" for how all Americans need to think or what they should think.
 

BioHawk

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No, I was taught those things in school, I just don't want people like you teaching it because the students would obviously get only the anti American version. You do know understand those things are in our past right, they are history? No people like you believe slavery and Jim Crow are ongoing.
First of all, you are an idiot if you think I am teaching anything about slavery and Jim Crow laws in my class. I mean, I would have thought it would be pretty easy to figure out which class I teach, but apparently I was too subtle about it.

Second of all, I get that as a right winger the idea that someone can leave their personal beliefs and their emotional needs out of a lesson plan is just impossible to believe, but that's the way it works with the vast majority of teachers I have ever met. Generally speaking, in my experience it is almost always Republicans that are like this, because just about everything they do is based on an emotional need they have and they can't conceive there is any other way to do things. At least that's what it seems like, as your post above shows.
 

23 so far

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Are you suggesting that reducing racism that exists in our society would not be an improvement?

What other improvements being proposed do you have issues with?
Sure, the Libbies are gonna cure racism. LOL! (we already know they create it where it doesn't actually exist, so there's that for starters).

Anybody on Planet Earth: "Looks like the Sun is Rising in the East again today".

Liberal reply: "That's racist!"

Same shit different day for you clowns.
 

SSG T

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Wow, you are confirming what most now know, that if the left isn't allowed to indoctrinate, they claim it is the same as a madras. Why does a school have to delve into social issues? How about just teaching the three R's and let the parents teach morality and values? They are the parents children after all.

You're confirming what we already knew, you don't want kids learning actual history, just the feel good because I'm white kind of history that isn't reality.

And FTR, my kids graduated from there. I know a bit about the class. There is nothing wrong with it or anything that would be considered controversial for anyone that doesn't wear a white hood, which means people like Abby would be offended.
 

SSG T

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As for the law...yeah, a country that had slavery for 90 years and Jim Crow laws for another 100+ isn't inherently racist.
sure-air-quotes.gif
 

EasyHawk

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You're confirming what we already knew, you don't want kids learning actual history, just the feel good because I'm white kind of history that isn't reality.

And FTR, my kids graduated from there. I know a bit about the class. There is nothing wrong with it or anything that would be considered controversial for anyone that doesn't wear a white hood, which means people like Abby would be offended.
Baxter girls just beat GMG in 8 innings 15-14. Beautiful night for softball at the complex.
 

RileyHawk

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Sure, the Libbies are gonna cure racism. LOL! (we already know they create it where it doesn't actually exist, so there's that for starters).

Anybody on Planet Earth: "Looks like the Sun is Rising in the East again today".

Liberal reply: "That's racist!"

Same shit different day for you clowns.
So you really don't have any interest in pursuing a reduction in racism. I'm not surprised.