You are currently viewing Ohio Redistricting Meeting- Aug 26, 2021

Ohio Redistricting Meeting- Aug 26, 2021

At the hearings on Ohio redistricting in Toledo, Ed Singer expresses concern for anti-“Critical Race Theory” hysteria that has resulted in HB 322 and 327. These bills, he says, will criminalize the teaching of past race & gender relations as well as present-day inequalities. Visit https://www.ohiochannel.org/…/ohio-redistricting… . Ed’s 4-minute testimony starts at 1:12:40 (i.e., 1 hour, 12 minutes, 40 seconds). A full text version follows:

“I am Ed Singer, 31 years the lead social science instructor at Northwest State Community College.

My experience as an educator convinces me of the direct links between fairly drawn electoral maps, a strong civic education, and the future of our democracy. I am alarmed by legislation crafted by a supermajority in the Statehouse that appears ready to eliminate free inquiry in the classroom.

Specifically, I’m worried about pending House Bills 322 and 327. If enacted, these measures would prohibit the teaching and learning of a wide swath of ideas about America’s past and present. What ideas? Honest truths about the promise of an America with freedom and justice for all. Perspectives on our past and present that can help students of diverse backgrounds discover that their separate aspirations have much in common. Hope that our nation can do better.

Against the teaching of a full reckoning of America’s past and present, elected officials in Ohio attacked Critical Race Theory with strawmen and ideological fervor. The House Bills would target concepts crucial to the teaching of social sciences; moreover, these bills cast a prohibitive net by which much of social science curriculum could be considered suspect. To prepare our students for a challenging future, the ability to understand complex ideas is essential. Spoon feeding ideas to avoid complexity cripples students’ ability to problem-solve their own future.

If these bills are enacted, my social science colleagues will find the academic core of their disciplines censored. Widely accepted ideas in the social sciences having a century’s worth of supporting research could be seen as illegal by disgruntled students, angry parents, or members of the community with an ideological ax to grind.

American history is filled with inspiring examples of people empathizing with others from conflicting groups, understanding their grievances, and embracing the common cause of freedom. Because Americans are capable of empathy, the views of those with different experiences are not to be debased but rather, examined in context for understanding.

Legislators are not educators. With HB 322 and 327 legislators demonstrate their willingness to supplant the experience of professionals and replace it with ideology. This ideology, tied to a homogeneous group identity crushes students’ opportunity to learn from our past and to prepare for a future demanding innovative thought. This ideology stifles the free exchange of ideas; it’s a product of our gerrymandered districts.

I hope that when those of you on this Commission implement fair electoral maps, our legislators will be less inclined to bring such divisive matters to the floor. May they be more inclined to listen to constituents and colleagues across the aisle and avoid wedge issues promoted in the national media but out of place in Ohio’s schools.”