This editorial was originally published July 2 in the South Bend Tribune.
Indiana Sen. Mike Braun has been very clear on how he feels about diversity of thought and the importance of making sure students have the information they need to make up their own minds.
Except for when he hasn’t been.
In fact, if you listen to him in two recent examples, you might come away confused about his views on the subject.
Braun came out strongly in defense of the Clay High School teacher who was put on paid administrative leave after what the administration called an “unauthorized” class visit from Right to Life Michiana.
In a May 14 statement, Indiana’s junior senator called for the reinstatement of the teacher.
“The classroom should be a place that holds a diversity of thought, and students should be given all possible resources to make their own informed decisions, ” Braun said.
Braun’s emphatic support made his position crystal clear.
Until three weeks later, when Braun signed on to another statement, this one about critical race theory, a way of examining America’s history through the lens of race. Braun joined Sen. Rick Scott’s resolution with Sen. Marsha Blackburn condemning the use of CRT in K-12 schools and teacher training.
“America’s kids need to know that the fundamental values of our country are liberty, equality, and opportunity for all — not racism and oppression. I’m proud to join my colleagues in speaking out against divisive political agendas being pushed in our classrooms,” Braun said.
CRT has drawn a disproportionate amount of buzz, especially when you consider, as a recent Associated Press story noted, that there is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students.
But midterm elections are coming up, so that might help explain the urgency.
Defending the military’s offering instruction in CRT, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is important for military members to be open-minded and to be exposed to unconventional ideas.
So, open-mindedness and exposure to unconventional ideas. Sounds like the “diversity of thought” that Braun supported in his May 14 statement. Or maybe not.
In that statement, Braun also argued that teachers must not be targeted “because of politics.”
Yes, Senator Braun, let’s leave politics out of this.
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