Home > Essays > Fox News Story Shows Where NH Legislature’s “Budget” Rider Banning “Divisive Concepts” Rider Will Lead… and it Isn’t Good News for Public Education

Fox News Story Shows Where NH Legislature’s “Budget” Rider Banning “Divisive Concepts” Rider Will Lead… and it Isn’t Good News for Public Education

June 3, 2021

As noted in several earlier posts, the NH legislature is one of several GOP led bodies attempting to pass a bill banning the instruction of “divisive concepts”. Bills like this serve two purposes for the GOP: they emphasize the differences between the close minded GOP members and the more open minded Democrats on social issues and they turn parents against public education thereby opening the door for profiteers to enter.

The GOP is willing to trade unity for power and as many pundits have noted the only way the GOP can hope to retain power given their current base is if they unite under the flag of fundamentalism in religion and unregulated capitalism in economics. This combination diverts the voters’ AND the news media’s attention away from the important social and economic issues (i.e. rebuilding infrastructure; ensuring that all children have sufficient food, clothing and shelter; providing affordable housing and health care) to focus on non-existent threats to the well-being of our democracy (i.e. Critical Race Theory; Antifa; “choice” of all kinds; the right to bear arms; and religious liberty).

Our local paper features an article by Tim Camerato that describes the NH legislatures latest gambit to pass their “divisive concepts” bill, which is to fold it into the budget. This is bad for at least three reasons. First, attaching social legislation that has nothing to do with spending to a budget is irresponsible. Second, it is doubly so when that legislation was unable to pass as a standalone item. And third, it leads to the kind of gridlock that undercuts the citizens’ trust in government.

But the long term negative impact of passing the “divisive concepts” bill on school boards is immeasurable. This Fox News report by Joshua Nelson offers a sneak preview of what lies ahead for virtually every school board in America if legislation like the “divisive concepts” bill passes. It describes the efforts of Nicole Solas to find evidence that her child was being exposed to “anything with gender theory or anti-racism”. Here are her findings:

She called the principal and was told that they don’t refer to “kids as boys and girls.”

“I was also told that they refrain from using gendered terminology in general terms of anti-racism. I was told that kids in kindergarten are asked what could have been done differently at Thanksgiving, and this struck me as a way to shame children for their American heritage,” Solas said.

After failing to get meaningful answers, Solas sought to see the curriculum for herself, which was a challenge. She had not yet gotten a copy of the curriculum after requesting it.

Solas was advised by the school district to submit a public records request through the Access to Public Records Act. Upon receiving some information, Solas said she “did not see any evidence of gender theory or anti-racism” but knew that it was being taught to students.

She continued to use the APRA request system to seek answers to more of her questions.

“I have a lot of questions. I’m asking them. I wish that my questions would have been answered without having to do it this way. But they told me to do it with their own questions. They’re teaching something that they’re trying to hide from you. … They’re being opaque about it.”

Solas said the school district was scheduled to meet about possible legal action over her request. According to a local report, a school committee was considering a lawsuit to challenge Solas’ requests.

Having worked in a NYS district where an anti-tax advocate filed continuous and multiple freedom of information requests in an effort to provide we were spending inappropriately our staff attorney eventually appealed to the State body that governed such requests and put a stop to it. We did this knowing that the media coverage would be unfavorable to the district and be sympathetic to the person seeking information… but had we allowed the endless filing of FOIA requests and the time spent printing we would have spent money frivolously. The eventual workaround came when we could put reams of financial information on our web page. My advice to the RI district is to put all of their curriculum documents on line and invite Ms. Solas to sift through to identify the lesson plans that are designed to expose her child to “gender theory or anti-racism” knowing that even if she CAN’T find any evidence that is proof that “they’re trying to hide it”.

Categories: Essays
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