After an explosive meeting of the House Education Committee regarding HB 564, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus Chairman is requesting the removal of Representative Ray Garofalo (pictured) as chairman of the House Education Committee. Garofalo, who authored HB 564, received much scrutiny for his defense of the bill, which attempts to ban schools and colleges from teaching “divisive concepts”, or using material that suggests the US is racist or sexist.
State Rep. Ted James, chairman of the LLBC, explains that HB 564 in itself includes divisive, insensitive, and racist elements and that the impression was given that the bill would not see a hearing in committee after the urging of leadership and colleagues. However, the bill did see debate in committee, leading to comments by Garofalo stating that there were ‘good…’ components of slavery. “An apology is not enough,” James stated in a news release. “The defense of systemic racism throughout our country is unarguably an issue, and the language of this proposal alone is enough to offend those of us working toward change.”
Garofalo who represents Meraux, La. said, “Every student and employee in the Louisiana education system has the right to a learning environment that is free of discrimination… This bill addresses the growing concern of what many are calling the indoctrination of our children through racist and sexist programs in our schools’ education curricula and policies.” He calls it the Every Student is Equal Act because, he said, “it aims to treat all students equally, and prohibit the teaching of discriminatory programs that are based purely on the color of one’s skin or sex. The bill addresses the “divisive concepts” that are part of Critical Race Theory – a commonly referred to term that describes such discriminatory race-based programs and policies.”
This follows arguments made by Republicans in Iowa who passed legislation that states “divisive concepts” cannot be taught in training or curriculum at Iowa’s schools or governmental agencies. According to the Iowa State Daily, “These concepts include the idea an individual is consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist or oppressive due to their race or sex, or that the U.S. or Iowa are systemically racist or sexist. The bill resembles a bill former President Donald Trump signed last year to oppose diversity training that uses critical race theory. The bill was blocked by a federal judge and President Joe Biden rescinded it in January.”
HB 564 received a 7-7 vote in committee and was eventually shelved by Garofalo, who has stated that he does plan to reintroduce the bill at a later time.