State Watch

Indiana Republican backtracks after saying teachers should be ‘impartial’ when teaching about Nazism, fascism

An Indiana Republican who last week said teachers should be “impartial” when teaching about Nazism and fascism is now backtracking from his comments.

State Sen. Scott Baldwin (R), during a state Senate committee hearing on Wednesday regarding a proposed bill that would prohibit “divisive concepts” in schools, said educators have gone “too far” when taking a position on Marxism, Nazism and fascism, arguing that they “need to be impartial.”

“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms,’” said Baldwin, a co-writer of the bill, according to The Washington Post.

“I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position. … We need to be impartial,” he added.

One day later, however, Baldwin walked back his comments in an email to the Indianapolis Star. He said he meant to express that educators should not be telling children what to think about politics.

“When I was drafting this bill, my intent with regard to ‘political affiliation’ was to cover political parties within the legal American political system,” Baldwin told the newspaper.

“In my comments during committee, I was thinking more about the big picture and trying to say that we should not tell kids what to think about politics,” he added.

Baldwin’s initial remarks last week came in response to concerns a high school teacher expressed regarding Senate Bill 167, the legislation up for consideration that is similar to bills taken up in a number of states prohibiting critical race theory, according to the Post.

The legislation would also compel schools to create committees so parents can analyze curricula and offer their thoughts on materials before they are used in the classroom.

The Anti-Defamation League said “Baldwin’s apology doesn’t change the deep harms of using ‘impartiality’ or ‘neutrality’ as tools to sanitize history,” adding, “There’s nothing neutral about Nazism.”

“This is part of the continued efforts by some to try and rewrite history and characterize extremism, racism, and genocide as somehow legitimate. This is dangerous and despicable. It should be categorically, universally, and loudly rejected,” the group added.

The situation in Indiana comes after a Texas school leader in October instructed teachers to accompany books on the Holocaust with a book from an “opposing perspective.”


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