I just finished reading L.D. 589, Rep. Lawrence Lockman’s bill “Directing the State Board of Education To Adopt Rules Prohibiting Teachers in Public Schools from Engaging in Political, Ideological or Religious Advocacy in the Classroom.” It’s a terrible bill. Really. It’s stunningly antithetical to the concept of critical thought and debate that happens within a democratic society and is learned in our classrooms across the state.

L.D. 589 amounts to state-sponsored censorship of speech, based on an ill-conceived specter of liberal bias in our public school system. It’s incredibly disingenuous and clearly obvious that the bill presents what Rep. Lockman believes to be a fair balancing of a partisan public school system.

The irony is how extremely partisan this bill is. As an example, per Section 2, No. 9, the rules would bar a teacher from “segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students.”

What he clearly means to state here is that the historical inequities of racism cannot be blamed on white people. Rep. Lockman should at least be honest about this point. So, in essence, he is asking for a rewriting of American history. This is tantamount to amending the stain of racism, in order to expunge the conscience of those who are unwilling to accept historical inequity. This is alarming and intellectually dishonest.

Rep. Lockman’s bill is a small-minded attempt to do an end run around the reality of living in a pluralistic society by shutting down dissension and opinions that differ from his own. The people of Maine deserve better than this terrible bill, and more from elected officials like him.

Adam Williams

Brooks


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