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tv   Students Parents Others Testify on Curriculum Censorship - Part 2  CSPAN  June 17, 2022 6:15pm-6:53pm EDT

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committee stands in recess. [inaudible conversations]
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>> all right, thank you for your patience and your indulgence, everybody. welcome to our lives on capitol hill. and thank you for waiting for us. let's see. i would actually invite the ranking member, if she'd like to go now. do you want to take your five minutes for questioning? okay, well, i will go first, then. and i don't know if professor snyder is still out there. i am very curious about what you said about memory loss, as being a hallmark of authoritarian regimes, attempting to rewrite the past, which i suppose is one of george orwell's insights in 1984. but, how do you connect what's been going on with these laws against teaching critical race theory to the memory laws that are taking place in europe
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today, and did take place in europe in the 1930s? >> okay, thank you. i'm still here. and i'm glad to be here. it's really a very simple connection to make. so, as i was trying to stress in my earlier remarks, history is inherently discomforting. history is inherently divisive. if you read a good history book, it's always going to leave you slightly unsettled. it's going to leave you not where you thought you were going to be. and this is very important to the possibility of democracy, precisely because a good history books, and good history teachers leave people unsettled, and then, bring them to a new place. they enable the kinds of conversations which allow us to recognize one another as citizens, to learn from one other, and to make good policy, which heads towards the future. the way to prevent that sort of thing, as dictators and
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aspiring dictators no, it's to fashion on the subject in history, which is the hardest to handle. and put entirely off limits. if you're able to do that in a general way, then you end up with a citizenry which falls back onto its own assumptions about who is innocent and who is guilty. you end up with a citizenry that is unable to talk to one another, which makes it an easy for you to rule, and also it would be much easier to polarize, when necessary, because they just don't have the practice of recognizing that history is complicated, and those complications in history mean other people have other points of view. so, the things that i've has said, grasped by authoritarian's, and aspiring authoritarian, who just apply it in the negative way. in russia, as i think i might have said, the divisive issues are having to do with stalin -ism. they have to do with a stalinist terror of 1960 --
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mass killings of 1937 1938, they also have to do with all the choice to become a de facto ally with hitler in 1939. these are the single most divisive issues for an aspiring dictator like putin or a real dictator like putin, because of course, remember, the word divisive his ultimately going to be defined by the government itself, not by the people. the way that putin presents these lots to say that this ends of things are uncomfortable for russians, therefore, it's the government's responsibility to get out in front, and sensor, and make sure that the correct fewest but across. during the extreme situation of the russian invasion of ukraine, we see just how far this can go, with their b being no independent media, no possible discussion of any of these issues. but the central commonality in all the situations is that you find the issue, which the people would really have to understand to be a democracy off limits. the united states issue is obviously the civil war, the history of racism, this area
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reconstruction, the history of voter suppression. that is the issue, the issue of relations, between black people and white people, the issue of full citizenry. that is the issue which makes it easier or harder for americans to understand what one another. that is the issue which a lot of folks find it difficult to confront. so -- >> -- >> therefore this one has to be a central. >> i appreciate this very much, and it's a perfect entry point for me to go back to dr. whitfield. if you would describe, if you don't mind, some of your personal experience, and how your contract ended up being terminated. because i think it was about something related to what professor snyder just said. it dealt with just discussion of race. is that right? >> well, thank you chairman raskin. essentially, the contract wasn't terminated. there's a settlement agreement between the district in myself, and, so i'm prevented from discussing events pertaining to what's happened with the district. but what's happened, what
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initiated against me was much larger than that. it was a group of people, a small group of people that weren't parents of my students, that warrant, a large number of them, not community members, that raised concerns that i sent out a letter in the wake of george floyd's murder. they raised concerns that we created a diversity advisory committee. they waged concerns, i wouldn't even mention the word, systemic racism, because as the gentleman who alleged that i'm promoting critical race theory said at the july 26 board meeting, i am promoting the conspiracy of critical race theory, because of my views and, you know, what i had to say in that letter. >> icy. i see. i'll be interested to follow what happens. with your case. let me just ask one final question.
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miss nossel, we've talked about the dangers of this great white replacement theory. that the buffalo mass murderer was jacked up on when he went on his killing spray. what is the best approach to dealing with something like the white replacement theory? is it to try to censor it, and say people can't mention it? or is it to talk about it, and educate people about what's in there, and refute its claims? what's your sense of that? >> i absolutely don't think it should be censored. i think it is gonna be dealt with in a sensitive way, depending on the age of the students, you know, what the setting is. is this a history class, where it can be explored in examined? we've heard people talk today about the teachers who help them make sense of all this. you know, for me, that was
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essential, making sense of horrible chapters in our own history, in international history, understanding motivations, recognizing dangerous bigoted ties, and what their manifestations may be. the different faces that they show. and so, you know, the idea that we are capping off discussions of race, or even race racial superiority, you know, whatever the motivation is, that is counterproductive. we need in our schools, for kids to be able to explore these things, talk about them, recognize them, when they see them, be able to persuade others, and engage in these very difficult topics. so, censorship is not the answer. >> i mean, it's a striking irony, of course, that critical race theory is being banned all over the country by the state white replacement theory, which is not being banned. but in any event, neither of them should be banned. it's within the realm of ideas, and that means it's within the realm of debate, discussion,
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inquiry, and burisma, factual evidence, which ultimately is gonna be the antidote to lies. so i appreciate that. miss mace, you are now recognized for five minutes, liberally speaking. >> thank you chairman raskin. i don't think all of the witnesses for their testimony today. we appreciate your time and effort and sharing your stories of courage, especially to the students who are here today. you guys are remarkable! this issue is really personal to me. i'm a single working mom, likeness gentles. and covid-19 really hurt my kids, virtual school, really decimated our house with regards to learning. so have a few questions today. mr. carver, i'll start with you. since the start of covid, do you know what the percent of increase in mental health issues has been with our students, nationwide? >> i'm not aware specific numbers, but i know that mental health issues are a problem across the board. >> about 37% of students
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admitted that they have an increase in mental health issues. 44% said that they are persistently sad, have feelings of sadness and helplessness. mr. carver, do you know roughly the percentage increase in suicides, from covid-19, when kids were out of school, mostly? >> i do not. i do know the percentage of suicides for trans students, and lgbtq students, which are very high. >> what's what the percentage of that? >> 75% of lgbtq students say that they're consistently miserable throughout the day. >> so the rate of students, in covid-19, increased 22%, the summer of 2020, over 2019. and the winter of 2020 was a huge increase of 39% on average. do you know the percent increase in online bullying during covid-19? >> now -- >> there was 70%, 70% increase, which coincides with the rate of suicide, as you mentioned, earlier. do you know the percentage of increase -- excuse me, decrease with regards to reading levels during covid-19, when a lot of kids were home?
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do you know how bad it was, how bad it decrease? >> i'm a teacher. so i'm aware of the losses we've had, and the work we've had to do to make up for it. >> about 30%. and then, the decreases in learning math, particularly for those in virtual school, down 50% during covid-19. my next question, mr. carver, do you believe that learning pronouns or learning to read is more important to kids in school? >> pronouns are a part of reading -- >> which one is more important? >> i'm just curious. >> do you believe that students should be suspended from school, if they don't use the correct pronouns when they're at school? >> i need more context, forgiven situation. >> some students, recently, last week, were suspended from school, middle school students, for not choosing the correct pronouns. should teachers, unions, decide, in your opinion, whether schools should close, or she should be up to states and school boards? >> i think they should have a voice, but i don't think they should decide. >> so, excuse me, it teachers
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union, during covid 19, directed and guided the cdc on school closures, rather than giving that to states and to school boards. they were trying to twist the arms of the cdc to make those decisions for parents, for teachers, for school boards, et cetera. do you believe that parents have, first -- i guess, miss nossel, you mentioned the first amendment in your comments earlier. do you feel parents have the right to the first amendment? >> all americans have the right to the first amendment. >> so do you believe it's okay if parents show up to school board meetings that their voices heard, especially when they disagree with school board? >> absolutely. people have the right to have their say. if there are making threats, if they're harassing people, that's something different. but expressing your opinion, absolutely. >> i wholeheartedly agree. i was reading a story, it was last year, where a parent showed up at a loudoun county school board meeting, because his daughter was sexually assaulted at school. and that father was arrested. i tell this story often, when i
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was 16, i was raped by a classmate of mine and high school. and, when i was 17, shortly thereafter, i dropped out of school, because oftentimes, women who are raped are victimized, victimized when they come forward. in this case, it was a parent. and we want to make sure that we protect the rights of all parents to have a say in gets schools. so i thank you all for your time this afternoon. and i yield back. >> thank you, the gentle lady yields back. and i yield now to miss wasserman schultz, for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you, mister chairman. mister chairman, i have some questions for my fellow floridian cousins, but i will be -- to engage with professor snyder why understand is teaching virtually. professor snyder, my office loves your book on tyranny, and i firmly believe that it's a simply and effectively helped
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appear america way from his recent turn towards authoritarianism. so, thank you for that. but i want to tap into that talent for concision, and ask some very quick, yes or no questions. and then get to a larger take on my home state of florida. do repressive government sensor unpleasant history in their schools? yes or no? >> yes. >> do tyrannical governments muzzle teachers from telling the truth? >> yes. >> the authoritarian leaders regularly denies the free press? >> yes. >> do tyrants criminalize protesters? >> yes. >> do death threats make it harder to vote? >> yes. >> do they abandon facts, science, and reason? >>, yes. >> do autocrats target marginalized communities like gazer communities of color? >> very much so. >> thank you. governor ron desantis, the governor of my home state the, pose every one of these authoritarian tools in florida. but some are law, one of them became law this week, these are the same repressive tactics that thousands of my constituents fled from in venezuela, cuba, and nicaragua
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that's why they came to florida and now governor desantis is banking and brand of authoritarian that castro would apply. mr. snyder, should residents in florida be resisting this rising authoritarianism of governor desantis. and we're seeing the creeping obedience that you talk about towards his repressive policies that you own warned about. >> so, number one, i think you're very right to make these comparisons and cubans of an older generation can actually remember school policies from the homeland which are similar to the ones that are being implemented in florida now. number two, i think you are also quite right to talk about anticipatory obedience. it's very important not to see changes like this as normal and as -- to allow them to come creeping in so that they become the new normal. and number three, should people be resisting? absolutely. i mean the way that democracies are overcome in the 20s century 21st century is generally from within and it's generally by clever leaders who find ways around the rules and find ways
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to create, to find ways to use non minority positions which polarize and -- >> thank you. thank you, mr. snyder. it's not enough to just describe run to center says the culture warrior. we should call him what he has, a tyrant who is using his position in power to install repressive and hateful policies in florida. i want to turn next to his cousins because as a floridian, you can give a firsthand account of how these policies impact children and families. despite conservatives assertions that anti-lgbtq plus laws like florida's don't say gay act or are meant to protect younger students, the truth is they directly harm those students. for example these laws would prevent children with same-sex parents or lgbtq+ siblings from being able to discuss their families in school. and it would also require teachers to out lgbtq+ students to their parents without their students position if the parent rerequest the information and allows parents to sue schools should they fail
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to do so. ms cousins, you're a florida parent and you have a non-binary child in middle school as well as to younger elementary school students. how would your children be directly impacted by the don't say gay law? >> so, my two youngest are two youngest are rising first into third graders rising first and. so the way that this is third graders. so going to impact the way this is gonna us is impact us if they is if they. , should be discussing should be discussing the makeup of our family or their older sibling whilst in the classroom. some kids over here and goes woman says, hey, guess what, so and so sibling identifies this way. if the parent doesn't like the makeup of your of our family they are now fully within the rights of the law and go and sue the school and not only sue the school, but the school will now be responsible for paying for that lawsuit. that is money that we desperately know, florida, could be better spent on teacher salaries and student funding itself. >> can i zero in with you on. that you have clearly been
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supportive of your non-binary trial. i will ask you specifically about forcing teachers to out there lgbtq+ students to their parents. schools are supposed to be safe havens. and the very often are for these kids. how do you think outing students to their parents could affect them? >> it's gonna be devastating. it's gonna get you higher rates of depression and definitely higher rates of suicide. you can't out a fragile child like that, without them being ready for it. the reason that they can be safe in school is so they don't come from supportive families, my child has several friends in school that are trans. they can only live their trans self while they're in school because their families are not supportive. i feels a fear so much the kids were not coming from families from good to come from families like that. >> -- it's a direct attack on the lgbtq+ communities that will directly affect adversely affect the health and well-being of -- south florida. students -- i yield back. thank you.
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>> i think we're going to give the other members a few more minutes to get back. i think there's a press conference going on about buffalo. in the meantime, i'm going to take another round of questions and invite miss mace, if she wants to, to take another round. i'm also struck about the way in which the autocrats and the authoritarians feel it necessary to attack the lgbtq community all over the world now. we see that with orban in hungary, we see it with putin in russia, we see it with duterte in the philippines, and of course the homicidal crown prince in saudi arabia, and on and on. i wonder why that has become such a hallmark of the authoritarian regimes around the world. i thought i would get thoughts from anybody who wanted to, but perhaps professor snyder, we could
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start with you. >> yeah, thank you for the question. number one, to make his simple observation, there's a lot of coughing going on right now. it's not a coincidence when different right-wing regimes around the world use these tools. there's a great deal of copying this. also a fair amount of contact between the american far-right and the russian regime on the issue of gays. number two, right-wing regimes tend to identify children as an anxious place, and so they use the rhetoric of the exploitation of children as a way to seem to be on the right side of families. this is a way to de-stable of the conversation in the polarizing society and preventing actual democratic conversation about policy should be like. >> very. good yes miss carver i
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come to you mr. carver i continue. >> it also plays on primal fears. i'm a teacher. areva my students. they're worried about their safety. when kids are trying to commit suicide, we are the ones calling the police. we are the ones literally showing up at their houses to prevent them. we are the ones making sure they get access to counseling. we are the ones fighting for. i'm very proud of the unions in kentucky for fighting very hard when our students were threatened with the loss of health access to school, mental health access. i can understand and even sympathize with parents who if they're told by extreme right wing advocates, your students are in danger, that they might feel worried. we are in a time period in which lots of people feel stress. so i think advancing that narrative that the kids are in danger is an easy way to win people over at
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a most primal level that doesn't really require them to ask any questions other than, how can i help my kid? >> it was just mentioned that there was a lot of copying going. on i just wanted to mention that there's a lot of copying going on among middle school girls in particular. right now there's a social contagion happening, where girls who feel like they don't fit in, girls who might have lagging social skills, girls with underlying issues of anxiety, depression, adhd, often autism spectrum, they find that relief in an identity, like a transgender identity, non-binary, gender fluid. this is something that is happening very much in my community. i know of many girls who've embrace this identity, when they hit puberty, when the hit middle school age. parents are seeing that happening, they are seeing that social contagion, they're seeing it spread among middle school girls, and they're wondering what's happening. and they're asking
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questions. i would say we just need to be mindful of the fact that -- i spoke with a child psychologist -- psychiatrist recently, who said the first 15 years of his practice he had never seen a trans identified child. but now many of his clients, because he works, with are embracing this identity. i think it's appropriate for parents and for caring community leaders to probe, question, look at what's going on, and ask why schools are creating these gender support plans where these middle school girls come to the teachers, to the school, say they want a new name, a new identity and new pronouns. and a school develops a prone to hide it from parents. why are they doing? that particular these are kids with underlying issues. they
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have anxiety, depression, adhd, autism spectrum. and more inclined to consider suicide, particularly when it's told them over and over, that you are more likely to commit suicide. those gender support plans are dangerous. they are cutting parents out of a really important conversation. >> thank you for that, miss cousins, did you want to opine either on my original question or on that point that ms gentles just made? >> my child knew that it was completely safe to come out to me first. so we never had any issue in school with having to create specific plans for them.and my wish is that every child came from a safe family like my own, where they were free to be themselves, they won't be judged, and they could live their authentic life. if a child doesn't feel safe to come out at home, but they do feel safe with the particular teacher or guidance counselor in their school, then absolutely, it's important for the child to be able to confide in that safe adult, because there are far too many trans and non-binary children lately who, their families are not supportive and they will go
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home, they will be beaten, they will be bullied, they will not be accepted. and that is what is leading to the higher rates of depression in my opinion. >> so, mr. carver, it seems like it's a complicated time to be a teacher these days. with the writers and mental and emotional health problems, the surgeon general has declared it a nationwide emergency. covid-19 has been a nightmare for young people. it's been prodoundly isolating and demoralizing. as miss mace said, it has been a setback in kids learning almost all across the board. what is the best spirit within which a school can try to address all of these different problems in a meaningful and supportive way, without ever imposing some kind of bar of political and
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ideological correctness of any perspective on families and on kids? >> for me, inclusion is the one where that matters. i know the students for example who come from families that try to change their gender identity, who disagree with them, are 300% more likely to attempt suicide. if a student, for example, comes into my classroom and says, i'm a democrat, i'm a republican, i'm trans, whatever, it's not my job to say, well here's what you should be. or let's put you on a path to be something else. my job is great, you are welcome here. you're always welcome here. if we politicize inclusion and say welcoming a student, making sure that the students feel safe, making sure the students feels heard, if we somehow suggest that this in itself is a political act, then it becomes impossible to make every single child feel safe. >> i'm going to turn to miss mace now. thank you very much
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mister carver. and ms mace, and then we're going to close it out. >> thank you. i had a few more questions for miss gentles this afternoon. in your opinion, is that school closures were classroom content that is what the most over the last two years? >> to be clear, students entered the covid era in a bad position. they were already possessing weak math and reading skills, and those have only gotten worse because of school closures. obviously, a child cannot learn how to read kindergarten or first grader cannot learn how to read on zoom, and that has really impacted their ability to read, that has really impacted their future. the school closures have had a huge impact. >> and then, who do you believe is responsible for school closures that happened all across the country? >> i think it's popular of the
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popular narrative to put the blame straight on randi weingarten, who is the head of the american federation of teachers -- she's obviously a driving force, but there are a lot of people with responsibilities. the local leaders. the school boards. the superintendents had the responsibility to step up and recognize that children were not doing well with their mental health and with their academic achievement and schools needed to be open. >> and that in your opinion, interventions now, what can we do now? whatever dissidents based and eventually can we be advocating for, congress should be addressing, learning loss getting screwed it back up, millions of skills will be lost, we are not to be able to get back to where the need to be. but what are, in your opinion, the interventions that we should or could be doing now to make the environment better for learning for students who have been so negatively impacted by covid-19 and being out of school? >> i think that's where the good news. this -- the good news this student centered interventions like high doses tutoring, where you have a small groups or one-on-one
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interacting with a tutor, a teacher, who's really focused on that students individual needs and getting them caught up, that's a proven strategy to help students. and states and districts have 190 billion dollars to spend of federal supplemental funding on top of what they have already, and they're having a lot of trouble spending it. so go ahead and spend it on the high dosage tutoring. a state like tennessee is doing. they have a statewide tutoring core, and i would love to see that happening in more states and districts. the problem is that some of the districts were having trouble with their contracting. the wall street journal reported this week that the l. a. school district has
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not spent a penny of its art funding, that was the biggest amount of funding that was pushed out from washington. not one penny of the arp funding. that they've received. some of that was contracting. issues that promised to do a tutoring program and they haven't even lined up the contracts yet. thank you, and i yield back. >> well, i think that no other members has made it back in time. i understand that mr. donald, while we noted some examples of the reasoning behind the banning of textbooks in florida, and i just want to add a little context to some of the documents he introduced in the record. 41% of florida math textbooks were banned because they contained critical race theory, which was surprising. but only three of 125 textbook reviewers had actually found bore alignment with even the critical race theory guidelines. one of the reviewers was a college sophomore at hills dale college, a conservative
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university in michigan. another was a member of moms for liberty, which has been driving the book bans across america. i wanna introduce an article from the tampa bay times, florida rejected dozens of math textbooks, but only three reviewers found crtc violations. as one article from the new york times, a look inside the textbooks that freud are rejected, the book that was referenced was an 11th grade brick calculus elective, textbook, that is not in the core curriculum. let's say. with that, i want to thank all of our witnesses for the day, for really your superb testimony. miss caldon, miss mengel, miss ramani, mrs. nossel, doctor whitfield, mr. carver, miss gentles, miss cousins, and professor timothy snyder from yale. i want to thank all of you for
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your tremendous participation. all of the members will have five days, within which to revise and edit their remarks, and also, to seek further questions of the members. so, if there are other questions that are advanced, i will forward them to you, and please get them back to us as soon as you can. and with that, i want to thank you again for your excellent participation. and our hearing is now adjourned. have a good weekend.
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now, a hearing on efforts to combat the fentanyl and opioid epidemic. officials from u.s. customs and border protection and the homeland security department testified before a house subcommittee for an hour


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