NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One lawmaker wants to prohibit implicit bias training for all public educators, even at the college level.
Chattanooga Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire introduced SB0102 this session. If passed, the bill “prohibits a local education agency, public charter school, public institution of higher education, the state board of education, and the department of education from requiring an educator, employee of an LEA or charter school, faculty member, or employee of a public institution of higher education to complete or participate in implicit bias training.”
The bill would also define “implicit bias training” and prohibit “adverse licensure and employment actions from being taken against” those who would refuse to participate in the training.
As it is written, implicit bias training would be codified to mean “a training or other educational program designed to expose an individual to biases that the training’s or educational program’s developer or designer presumes the individual to unconsciously, subconsciously, or unintentionally possess that predispose the individual to be unfairly prejudiced in favor or against a thing, person, or group to adjust the individual’s patterns of thinking in order to eliminate the individual’s unconscious bias or prejudice.”
While not required by the state, some school districts choose to utilize implicit bias training for employees. Metro Nashville Public Schools asks all employees take part in training that includes implicit bias awareness, there are not consequences for employees who opt out of it.
“As part of our efforts to identify and eliminate inequities, we do ask employees to participate in an equity training that includes the topic of unconscious/implicit biases that people of all backgrounds may have, giving employees the knowledge and tools to recognize and address them when it comes to working with students and co-workers, with the goal of reducing disparities in outcomes that lead to achievement gaps,” said MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted. “While we do ask all employees to participate in the trainings, there are no identified disciplinary consequences for not doing so.”