Question what ‘anti-oppressive literature instruction’ is about
Pending legislation in the Iowa Legislature would require public universities to explain a list of terms found in courses aimed at training future teachers.
The bill, which is working its way through the legislative process, would require different public universities and the Board of Regents to clarify what terms used in courses mean.
Some of these terms include “compulsory heterosexuality,” “queer identities” and “anti-oppressive literature instruction.”
The Board of Regents for the State of Iowa is “monitoring the bill and will follow the language as it moves through the legislative process,” spokesman Josh Lehman told The College Fix via email.
“We will continue to work with the legislature on all issues related to higher education,” he said.
“The university does not comment on proposed (or recently adopted) legislation,” University of Iowa College of Education spokeswoman Lois Gray told The Fix when asked for comment.
So far 26 Republican lawmakers, led by Representative Skyler Wheeler, are trying to figure out how taxpayer dollars are being used and what is being taught.
The Fix reached out to Wheeler (pictured) to ask his reasons for introducing the bill, what he hopes to accomplish and what his future goals are with the information. He did not respond to a request for comment sent in the past month.
In addition to the required reports, the law, if passed, would create “an interim study committee” whose sole purpose is to “submit a final report, including findings and recommendations for policy changes, to the general assembly” due by the end of 2023.
“These are taxpayer dollars going to some of these different things,” Wheeler said, as reported by the Quad-City Times. “When you look at these, you start to just honestly try and figure out what in the world do these even mean?”
“So the purpose of this bill — it’s not a witch hunt,” he said. “It’s just simply, we want some answers on how our taxpayer dollars are being used and what is going on in our teacher prep programs.”
“I have grave concerns over the interim study committee and how it is currently designed,” Connie Ryan, executive director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund, said during a committee hearing. “It is entirely possible that only members of the majority party will be on this interim study committee.”
Current groups in support of the legislation include The Family Leader and and Opportunity Solutions Project.
The Iowa Environmental Council is opposed to the bill, according to lobbyist disclosures. The group’s focus does not appear to be education related – it lists “climate change,” “environmental justice,” “clean energy” and “land stewardship” as its key issues.
The Fix contacted the Environmental Council on Feb. 23 and asked spokeswoman Angela Belden why the group opposed the legislation and how it fit with its mission. Belden did not respond.
IMAGE: Skyler Wheeler/Facebook