Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Governor condemns tweet offering reward for teachers

CONCORD, New Hampshire (AP) – Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday condemned a Conservative group’s proposal to pay $ 500 to the first to “catch” a public school teacher violating New Hampshire’s new restrictions on systemic racism and other topics.

Sununu opposed an earlier version of the law, which echoed the Trump administration’s order, and sought to ban the discussion of “divisive concepts” in schools. But he later endorsed a language included in the state budget “which would prohibit teaching children that they are inferior, racist, sexist or oppressive because of their race, gender or other characteristics.”

After the State Department of Education launched a website last week to collect complaints against teachers, New Hampshire’s Moms for Liberty tweeted, “We have $ 500 for the first person to successfully catch a public school teacher violating this law. ” Further, the Conservative Parents’ organization advised its supporters to refer to online donations as “CRT Bounty’s”, referring to critical theory of race.

“The governor condemns the tweet that talks about the ‘awards’ and any financial incentives are totally inappropriate and irrelevant,” Sununu spokesman Ben Wihstadt said in an email.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelbluth was mildly critical when asked about the tweets this week.

“I would advise people to be very careful on social media,” he said in an interview. “There is a lot of useless or constructive rhetoric on social media.”

Republicans called the law an attempt to strengthen anti-discrimination laws and said it would allow such concepts to be taught in a historical context. But Democrats argue it will prevent doctrines of latent bias, structural racism, and sexism.

Although the Department of Education has published an online reporting form, complaints will go directly to the state’s Human Rights Commission, which may reject or investigate further. Decisions against teachers can be used by the State Board of Education for disciplinary action, including revocation of licenses.

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Deb House, president of the American Federation of New Hampshire Teachers, accused Edelbluth of starting a “war with the teachers.” And the New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association encourages Sununu to work with educators and families to clarify what constitutes an appropriate teaching of history and race relations. He urged Sununu to condemn Wednesday’s “generous” tweets.

“Our condition is at a turning point. Can we assume that these attacks continue to drive good, caring teachers and administrators away from our schools? Do we value our schools for the public domain that they are, or are they just the Commissioner’s political punching bags? “This is stated in the message of the association.

Edelblut argued that the new reporting process protects teachers by establishing a neutral grievance process. He compared this to similar systems set up to deal with complaints against other licensed professionals, from lawyers and doctors to beauticians.

“The shock of the fact that this website was provided seems inconsistent with what is happening in the rest of the professional world,” he said. “Cosmetology does not see this as an attack on cosmetology because someone is allowing someone to make a complaint.”

Critical race theory has become a rallying cry from some conservatives who disagree with how schools deal with issues of diversity and inclusion. Theory is a way of analyzing American history through the lens of racism, but by itself it is not an integral part of the school curriculum.

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