IHSPA Opposing New Curriculum Legislature


Bill HF 222

The Iowa High School Press Association strongly opposes this legislation that restricts teachers’ ability to access controversial material including “The 1619 Project” created by former IHSPA journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The bill proposes that the state engage in censorship and extortion by shutting down a credible news product and by threatening to cut funding for those school districts who choose to use “The 1619 Project.”

That, in our opinion, is unconstitutional on its face. Worse, it smells conspicuously like a law in effect in totalitarian states, not in a constitutional democracy that purports to support freedom of expression as guaranteed in the First Amendment of our Constitution.

For the Iowa state government to begin censoring projects based on an “accurate” or “patriotic” version of history is a dangerous precedent.  The role of education, as Waterloo native Nikole Hannah-Jones has said, is to encourage inquiry and challenge students’ thinking.

High school journalism and the teaching of journalism should be free and encourage students to understand and exercise their First Amendment rights.

If decisions about schools and curricula should be left to local communities and districts, as Gov. Reynolds herself has said countless times, then this unconstitutional overreach by the Iowa Legislature should be quashed immediately and used as an example of what a state government SHOULD NOT dictate to its public schools.