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The new teaching method prepares for a controversial start of the academic year

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A trio of Georgian education laws, which came into force a few weeks ago, prepared for a perhaps controversial opening to the Georgia school year next month.

The law deals with how teachers talk about potentially divisive topics in the classroom and parental controls for education.

Legislation, a source of intense controversy during the legislative session, is now in the hands of schools, school districts, and the State Department of Education.

One law (often referred to as the “divisional concept” law) teaches students about American history in ways that make them feel guilty or that they are better or worse than anyone else because of their race. Is forbidden.

The Georgia Board of Education adopted a model complaints policy for legal complaints in June.

Currently, it is up to the local school board to adopt its own policy by August 1. It is up to the local school board to adopt the state model or create its own policy.

Educational observers, including Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Educators’ Association, said disputes over law enforcement would develop differently in different parts of the state.

Morgan said he anticipates complaints from linguistic arts and literature classes in addition to social studies classes.

Morgan, a kindergarten teacher for most of her career, said elementary school grades were unaffected by complaints.

She said she expects managers to be “very strict” under the new law.

She also expressed concern that the more cautious approach brought by the law would have a “chilling effect” on the way teachers and students discuss current events and other social issues.

“The law is not a partnership needed to guarantee the success of all students, but a clear attempt to divide parents and educators and make their relationships hostile,” says Morgan.

However, supporters see the law as a step forward.

“There was great benefit for parents and students during the 2022 legislative session, and there is great momentum to remove radical politics and indoctrination from our classrooms,” said the Frontline Policy and Action Council. Chairman Cole Mugio said. “I still have work, but conservative leadership has significantly improved the school environment for students in the coming weeks.”

Eddie Bennett, managing director of the Georgia Council for Social Studies, said he does not believe that members of his organization are changing the school’s opening plans in accordance with the law.

But Bennett is concerned about how teachers comply with the law as they get older.

He said he has doubled his standard advice to members of his social teachers: “Whatever you teach, make sure it is in the standard.”

The Georgia Youth Justice Union will focus on ensuring that students, teachers and parents understand their legal rights, said Alex Ames, head of the organization for high school and college students.

The group said she wanted to prevent educators from being retaliated.

The new law also extends beyond school days to high school athletics. It has renewed the governance structure of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and provided an opportunity to ban transgender high school sports.

In May, GHSA resolved to do just that.

Currently, Georgia students are required to participate in high school sports based on their birth gender. This prevents transgender students born as men but identified as women from participating in women’s sports.

So far, GHSA has had no problems with the new policy, said Robin Hines, executive director of the organization.

But advocates of transgender youth say it has further blamed the community.

“Transgender students are the target of prejudice and persecution,” student organizer Abigail Matthew said at a press conference last month in response to a GHSA vote.

The other two teaching methods addressed the parent’s right to review educational and library materials and introduced new procedures for complaints.

The Parents’ Bill of Rights (House Bill 1178) gives parents the right to review their children’s class curriculum and other materials during the first two weeks of the nine-week scoring period.

Parents who disagree with the local school’s decision regarding the complaint can appeal to the school district and even to the state school board.

Senate Bill 226 requires the school principal (or nominee) to address complaints about potentially harmful materials or books at school within seven days.

Nan Brown, advocacy coordinator for the Georgia Library Media Association, said the school district had its own policy to address such concerns before the law, usually involving a committee.

According to Brown, the new law is unreasonable because it gives only one person the right to review and only seven days to investigate.

She said school librarians and managers may choose not to order certain materials because of concerns about complaints from minority voices.

“A big concern is self-censorship,” she said. “Some students don’t have what they need to respond to the fears of others. Some children want and need these books.”

Under the law, the state school board must adopt the model complaints policy by September 1. The local school board must adopt its own policy by January 1, 2023.

This article is available through a news partnership with Capitol BeatNews Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.