Iowa Teacher Circumvents Critical Race Theory Ban by Discussing Content of the Law

Iowa Teacher Circumvents Critical Race Theory Ban by Discussing Content of the Law

An Iowa teacher has found a way to circumvent a state law which bans teaching critical race theory in public schools. Petra Lange, a secondary teacher and adjunct professor at Simpson College was recorded in an online forum last week explaining how she slyly teaches CRT to her students by having them study the law.

On June 8 of this year, Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF-802 into law. The bill bans public schools from teaching “divisive topics” such as critical race theory. Lange teaches the students about the law, which is composed of 10 defined concepts, and encourages them to ask questions.

Lange teaches a course on Gender and Race Culture, where she “literally put the law in front of them, gave them access to it with a link and I said and I just need to let you know there are now concepts that is illegal for me to teach you about according to the state of Iowa.”

Lange explained in the online discussion titled UnBan Anti-Racism Education in Iowa that students immediately ask if if is illegal for them to ask questions, to which she responds the law “is only for me” and tells students “you can ask as many questions as you like.”

She then points out it is not illegal for her to answer questions. “The questions after going through hf 802 were so much more pointed” Lange bragged of her strategy which led exactly to the conversation she hoped to have. She then has students ask their questions on Post-Its.

“Like one of them straight up was a sticky note that says, ‘is the United States systemically racist?” That’s a “fascinating conversation that now we can have because you’ve asked” she responds, before proceeding to teach CRT.

“I’ve had to work around HF-802 in really interesting ways” she said of her strategy. “My courses are inquiry-based which means I do my best to put students’ questions at the center of the curriculum and then work to answer those questions” she added.


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