October 27, 2021
House committee fails to provide rationale
in its effort to undermine an honest education for Ohio students
Today, the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee voted to accept a new version of House Bill 327 that doesn’t change the undemocratic, punitive nature of the original bill.
While the substitute bill seems to be an effort to address concerns raised about HB 327 by the hundreds of Ohioans who presented testimony in a previous hearing, it fails to show why this legislation is needed in the first place. At its core, HB 327 remains an attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and suppress freedom of speech in educational settings in Ohio.
Rather than addressing the real need of Ohioans – an honest education that prepares everyone to thrive in a complex and diverse world – this bill seeks to divide Ohioans based on the color of our skin, where we live and how we identify ourselves.
Even with the changes approved today, substitute HB 327 would have a chilling effect on educators, suppressing freedom of speech in the classroom and the workplace. What HB 327 would allow or disallow in educational settings remains unclear and the core nature of the bill is punitive as it has the potential to withhold essential state funding from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, state agencies and political subdivisions.
Ohio legislators should abandon their efforts to pass these bills and go back to the drawing board by calling out racism as a threat to Ohio’s economic and educational future. Legislators should prioritize efforts to ensure all Ohioans receive an education that includes a thorough examination of historical and current events, behaviors, and societal trends, one that reflects and affirms diverse perspectives and identities, including race, sex, and faith. Education in Ohio should be grounded in credible research, widely-accepted sources, and integral narratives of lived experiences.
Honesty for Ohio Education is a grassroots, nonpartisan, statewide coalition that came together in June 2021 to uphold the value of an honest public education in Ohio.