FRANKFORT, Ky. — Dozens came together inside of the Capitol in Frankfort on Wednesday to voice their thoughts on House Bills 14 and 18.

The teachers and students that rallied say the two proposed bills would censor Kentucky educators from teaching the full story of American history.

What You Need To Know

  • Rebecca Powell was one of the many who attend the rally against House Bills 14 & 18

  • Powell believes these House Bills would prevent teachers from properly educating their students

  • She said they're too vague and could have a negative impact on students' futures

House Bill 14 and 18 are the bills Rebecca Powell, a retired Georgetown College professor, said would restrict teachers from properly educating students.

“These bills essentially are very vague," Powell said. "And they would put teachers in a very difficult position because they talk about 'designated concepts' and teachers not being able to teach certain designated concepts, but those concepts are not specified."

The bills prohibit classroom instruction or discussion that incorporates designated concepts related to race, sex and religion at any public school, public charter school or public postsecondary institutions.

All across Kentucky, teachers are heading back into the classroom under unusual scrutiny as politicians and parents raise the specter of CRT. Teachers and administrators insist that the decades-old academic framework for examining institutional racism is not taught in Kentucky’s schools, but that’s become a minor detail in the broader debate. CRT is now a catchall phrase used to refer to any effort to teach Black history, and the history of racism and its lasting impacts on modern society. 

Teachers like Powell fear that these vague bills will negatively impact to provide students with a comprehensive education.

“The teachers have certain standards that they have to follow. And probably most problematic would be the social studies standards, because there are certain social studies standards that really do require teachers to read materials about our diverse past,” Powell said. 

Powell, alongside eight different groups from around the state, gathered at the Capital to rally against those bills. She said the only way students can develop skills is by having tough topics of conversations and learning the full, often-uncomfortable history of the U.S. 

“We teach children specifically how to have conversations with people who differ from themselves in a respectful kind of way, and we're really proud of that work and children are proud of being able to do that," Powell said. "But if you don't have something that's slightly controversial, children are not going to be able to prepare."