The House Education Committee today refused to approve Rep. Mark Lowery’s bill to ban the teaching of the New York Times’ 1619 Project by financially penalizing any schools that did.

Education Secretary Johnny Key concluded at-times dramatic testimony on HB 1231 by saying the department (effectively meaning the Hutchinson administration) opposed the bill.


Opposition also came from Republican legislators who thought it was dangerous for the legislature to get into dictating instruction content.

Key said the state has comprehensive standards on curriculum and a review process for developing it. He said curriculum is best left to local boards and administrators. Under questioning, he said the department can review if concerns are raised about a particular item introduced in the classroom. And he said he was aware of no district using the 1619 Project as curriculum. If it were to be introduced, it could be reviewed on its merits.


He, and legislators, also said there’d be technical problems in punishing schools financially if they supplemented instruction with the material.

Some moving testimony was heard in some two hours of debate. They included a Bryant high school student who took Lowery to school on the teaching of social studies, and Kymara Seals, a Black grassroots organizer who said slavery was not taught, only “mentioned” in schools and that it was part of the “DNA” of America from the beginning, and lots more.


It became clear the bill was going down as legislators praised Lowery for encouraging a discussion on the issue. It was declared defeated on a voice vote, with only a scattering of “ayes” heard. No one asked for a roll call.

Austin Bailey will have a full report later.

Lowery and other have more junk cancel-culture legislation to come. Lowery is sponsor of HB 1218 to stifle teaching about race, gender, class, political and other distinctions (think sexual) from Kindergarten through college.

As mentioned earlier today, white legislators have proposed a fake Black History Month resolution.  It is already under fire from a national authority.


Also lurking is legislation to protect Arkansas monuments to defenders of slavery. A significant number of legislators, including the leader of the Senate, plan to do all they can to defeat hate crime legislation. Legislative and congressional redistricting is certain to be undertaken to further diminish limited influence of Black voters. Several pieces of vote suppression legislation are planned to diminish minority voter influence (Lowery is a sponsor of at least one).

As I wrote earlier today: The South lost the Civil War but it won reconstruction and the Lost Cause narrative continues to win the battle for white supremacy today.