ATLANTA (TND) — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed seven different education-related bills Thursday, covering issues such as parental rights in education, critical race theory, sex education instruction and access to athletics for trans students.
“Protecting the teaching of freedom, liberty, opportunity and the American Dream in the classroom should not be controversial,” Kemp said. “Making sure parents have the ultimate say in their child's education should not be controversial.”
A criticized measure in one of the bills signed by Kemp gave the Georgia High School Association power to decide whether or not to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in sports with athletes born of a different gender.
Kemp said that “as the parents of three daughters,” he and his wife “want every young girl in this state to have every opportunity to succeed in the sport they love,” noting that he believed that sentiment “should not be controversial.”
Kemp also signed the “Parent’s Bill of Rights” into law Thursday, guaranteeing parental access to classroom instructional material. Among the other measures he signed was a ban on the instruction of “divisive concepts and ideologies,” such as critical race theory, and the removal “obscene materials” from books made available in Georgia schools.
Protesters confronted Kemp Thursday, sharing their displeasure with his support for the new education bills.
Critics of the new measures, which will now become law, argue parents already have access to curriculum material under current state law, and the new rules will place undue burdens on teachers.
“It’s bumper sticker legislation of the worst kind,” said Democratic Rep. Stacey Evans, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta. “Teachers are going to pay the price.”
“The anti-education bills Kemp pushed during Georgia’s legislative session, which Perdue supports, have been staunchly opposed by teachers, parents, and students — and come after a report shows 1 in 4 teachers are considering leaving the profession over job-related stress,” tweeted Georgia Democrats.
“This bill is focused on protecting students from the far radical ideologies that the media promulgates,” said Republican Rep. Will Wade, according to WSB-TV.