December 8, 2022

Georgia’s Kemp signs into law several education-related bills, including ‘divisive concepts’ ban

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a series of bills he says will protect students and increase transparency, but critics derided the measures as unnecessary.

The bills included House Bill 1084, which bans schools from teaching so-called “divisive concepts.” It would also allow the Georgia High School Association to issue regulations that would prohibit those born as males from playing women’s sports.

Another high-profile measure, HB 1178, creates a so-called Parents’ Bill of Rights. Proponents said the measure gives parents recourse if they object to the curriculum taught in public schools.

“Unfortunately, there are those outside of our state and other members of the General Assembly who chose partisan politics over commonsense reforms for our students as well as our parents,” Kemp said during a bill signing ceremony in Cumming. “Standing up for the God given potential of each and every child in our schools and protecting the teaching of freedom, liberty, opportunity and the American dream in the classroom should not be controversial. Making sure parents have the ultimate say in their child’s education should not be controversial.”

Senate Bill 226 removes “obscene materials” from school libraries, while SB 588 aims to increase transparency at school board meetings, Kemp said. HB 517 doubles the cap on student scholarship organization donations, including the Greater Opportunities for Access to Learning scholarships.

Senate Bill 220 creates a Commission on Civics Education to explore ways to improve the teaching of financial literacy in schools. HB 385 allows retired teachers to return to the classroom full-time in high-need areas.

Critics derided the legislation as unnecessary.

“No matter where you come from or what you look like, you should have access to courses and curricula that value your culture, identity and humanity,” Terrence Wilson, regional policy and community engagement director for the Intercultural Development Research Association.

“Whether you are white, Black, Hispanic or Asian— most parents want their children to learn about history the way they learn about math— as accurately as possible,” Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in a news release.

This article was originally posted on Georgia’s Kemp signs into law several education-related bills, including ‘divisive concepts’ ban

Sydney Boles