Rookie House lawmaker proposes ‘academic freedom of public educators’ bill

Michael Bielawski/TNR

EQUITY IN THE CLASSROOM?: Rep. Troy Headrick, P/D-Burlington, wants a bill that would legally protect teachers who advance political ideas such as gender or race in the classroom.

A House lawmaker this week introduced a bill to protect the “academic freedom of public educators” who teach their personal beliefs regarding gender, race and other controversial topics in Vermont’s schools.

Rep. Troy Headrick, P/D-Burlington, is the lead sponsor of H.106, an act relating to the academic freedom of public educators. When he’s not at the Statehouse, Headrick works at UVM’s Center for Student Conduct.

Rep. Troy Headrick, P/D-Burlington

“It’s really in response to national trends right now that concern me and scare me, and I’m worried about the autonomy that is being taken from them. The trust that is being taken from them,” Headrick said about the bill.

“For me, what I am about to talk about is very much a retention and a recruitment factor as well. And it’s in direct response to national trends by which private groups are in control of local school boards and destroying curriculum, especially around matters of equity and inclusion.”

Unhappy with opposition voices

According to Headrick, voices are emerging in Vermont and elsewhere that challenge what teachers can teach and say in the classroom.

“And we see it all over, you don’t have to go too far,” he said. “…You can go to “All Things Considered”on Vermont Public Radio from two weeks ago, [and] you can probably find a new story yesterday. You can probably find one today that talks about how curriculum is being shifted and changed and destroyed by bad actors.”

Moms for Liberty” is one of the top opponents Headrick cited, saying “these groups are surrounding our state.”

“This very conversation has come up in Springfield about do we need to control conversations about race and the history of racism, pronoun usage, gender affirming delivery of curriculum,” he said, adding that the House Education Committee needs to brainstorm responses “that are constitutionally allowable.”

About ‘white supremacy’ and ‘sexual orientation’

“We don’t want to prohibit them from talking about white supremacy or prohibit them from talking about matters of sexual orientation and their identity,” Headrick said.

According to the Burlington lawmaker, some teachers say they don’t feel free to teach a curriculum that aligns with their ways of thinking, and that they worry about kids being taught things “that promote hate, that promote bigotry, that promote continued racism.”

When asked by another committee member about data supporting his claims, he replied it’s “based on kind of the national trends that I’m certainly seeing.”

Presently, the proposed legislation is a “short-form bill,” meaning it states broad objectives, and that it would be up to colleagues to provide the details of how those objectives would be developed into a state policy.

Tuesday’s meeting of the House Education Committee can be viewed online here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

10 thoughts on “Rookie House lawmaker proposes ‘academic freedom of public educators’ bill

  1. What about the principle that questioned burning, looting, saying nasty things might not be a way to endear people to their cause, despite supporting BLM and was fired?

    What if your belief was science?

    What if your belief was truth and love?

    What if your belief was the foundation of western civilization?

    Would you be free to express?

    What about cancel culture can we just say no more?

  2. Really, so a teacher that believes in communism, should try to instill the “benefits” of communism into the young minds of students, or pedophilia, or theft of another’s property. Insanity and immorality teaches insanity and immorality.

  3. Thank you Mr. Headdick – I’m going to start donating to ‘Moms For Liberty’. I never would have known about them if you hadn’t mentioned it – thank God for the law of unintended consequences.

  4. “some teachers say they don’t feel free to teach a curriculum that aligns with their ways of thinking,”
    And they shouldn’t! By far, most teachers attend liberal colleges and their ‘ways of thinking’ are liberal, maybe more accurately, extremely liberal.
    Cancelled college professor, Peter Boghossian, explains on youtube the history of how teaching became so dysfunctional and dominated by liberals.
    Teachers need public policing. Parents to be in the classroom.
    At Edmund Jr. High in Burlington the gay asst principal said to the press, “I don’t care what the govt says, I am going to take care of MY kids.” So much for parental authority.
    Bravo to all the parents speaking at school board meetings.

    On UVM.

    • Re: “some teachers say they don’t feel free to teach a curriculum that aligns with their ways of thinking, And they shouldn’t!”

      Why not? If only everyone would realize the comprehensive benefits to School Choice Tuition vouchers. Not only could all parents and their children choose the education programs they believe best reflect ‘their way of thinking’, so too could teachers. What better ‘policing’ is there, for parents, their children, teachers, and rogue assistant superintendents? Everyone becomes accountable.

  5. Teachers are supposed to teach approved curriculum, not what ever they want
    troy dp from btown. This is another flatlander who works at uvm like phillis baruth and teacher.jiinny the drunk, maybe we need a law no more education people can be legislators as they have no work experience or common sense only leftist agenda. His statement “it’s a national trend” says it all. Can’t think for himself. Can’t expect much better from burlington voters however. .

  6. Speaking of ‘supremacy’….. what about academic freedom for parents, their children, and the taxpayers footing the bill?

    Let them eat cake!

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