It’s pretty sad when the best thing you can say about the state legislature is, “It could have been worse.”

But that’s blogger Steve Hinnefeld’s conclusion. You can almost hear him breathing a sigh of relief that the Republicans didn’t do more harm.

The 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly produced plenty of bad news, but at least there’s this: When it comes to education, it could have been worse. Much worse.

Republican legislators failed in their all-out effort to ban the teaching of what they misleadingly call “critical race theory” in schools. They also fell short in their efforts to politicize school board elections, encourage book-banning, and make public schools share funding with charter schools.

Their one truly harmful action regarding schools was the approval of House Bill 1041, which prohibits transgender girls from playing girls’ sports. This cruel legislation was designed for one purpose only: to toss a bone to the GOP’s right wing. Maybe – hopefully — Gov. Eric Holcomb will veto it.

Other than that, Republicans wasted people’s time and energy with lots of sound and fury about education, but it ultimately signified almost nothing.

House Bill 1134, which would have prohibited teaching “divisive concepts” supposedly deriving from critical race theory, was approved by the House but watered down and then abandoned by the Senate. Legislative leaders talked about reviving parts of the bill but didn’t manage to do so.

It’s a bit of a mystery why anti-CRT bills failed in Indiana when they were being approved in other conservative, Republican-controlled states. They weren’t helped when the author of one of the bills said teachers should be impartial when teaching about Nazism, prompting mockery on late-night TV.