Education

5 State Education Bills That Could Have Major Impacts on Your Family

This is a list of five bills currently in state legislatures across the nation that affect education and parental rights.

Amy Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., helps student Melody Fritz with an English language arts lesson Oct. 1, 2013. Silver Lake has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Now, students are being asked to think more critically -- what, for example, might a character say in an email to a friend. "It’s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in grades kindergarten through high school. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)\n

By Diane Robertson

Each year throughout the nation state legislatures consider potential laws that affect the daily lives of parents and children.

Some of these bills suggest good and necessary changes. Other bills would expand the government to assume or threaten personal decisions of parents and children. This is a list of five education bills that have the potential to replace parental authority with government authority.

Amy Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., helps student Melody Fritz with an English language arts lesson Oct. 1, 2013. Silver Lake has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Now, students are being asked to think more critically -- what, for example, might a character say in an email to a friend. "It’s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in grades kindergarten through high school. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)  (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) 

New York

With multiple sponsors and a copycat bill both in the House and Senate, New York A7225 and S1033 intends to amend the education law to “establish full service community schools.”

This will attempt to integrate physical health, mental health, dental care, day care, and afterschool care as part of the local public schools. These bills also would bring in “local government agencies,” likely child protection services.

Lines 38-41 suggest that the schools have youth development programs specifically designed to promote the “social, emotional, physical and moral development” of youth. Additionally, these bills would have schools offer parenting classes to teach parents how the government believes they should parent.

This takes several aspects of personal and family life and makes them public and a part of the government. The amount of money it would cost tax payers to fund such extensive programs would be phenomenal.

Do parents really want the primary health care of their children to be delegated to the schools? Should moral training be the business of the government or the business of the family?

South Carolina

South Carolina State Reps., David J. Mack, III, Lonnie Hosey, and Leola C. Robinson-Simpson have introduced joint resolution H 4483 into the House.

The resolution will implement a six-year pilot program into nine school districts to test if kids in the state do better when they’re no longer placed in grades one through three but instead participate in a “continuous primary module.”

This would place kids in a three-year program with the hope that they can work more at their own pace. Gifted students who finish the program early may be allowed to advance at the end of the second year. Since this has not been tried, no one can predict if this will positively or negatively affect education.

Citizens of South Carolina may want to suggest an amendment allowing parents the right to opt their children into this program during the pilot phase rather than just being assigned.

Missouri

Missouri State House Representative, Michael Butler (D) introduced HB 1458 as an addition to the Missouri Parent/Teacher Involvement Act.

Among other things, the intended changes will implement home visits by teachers and staff. At least 50 percent of the staff at the local schools must be willing to visit parents and students in their homes.

On lines 22-24, the bill states that teachers will receive training to provide, “parents and legal guardians with guidance on how to reinforce educational objectives with their children at home.”

The problem with this sort if law is that it brings the government deep inside the home. Schools already have children as young as five for seven hours a day. Many families feel like their evening time should be spent on extra-curricular activities, like sports and music, or fun family activities and chores rather than more time spent on academics.

Indiana

Indiana State Sen. Earline Rogers introduced SB 199 that would make kindergarten compulsory beginning at age 5. If students are 5 by August 1, they will be required to be enrolled in a kindergarten program. The current law makes school compulsory at age 7. While many parents send their children to school at 5 years of age, others feel like their children are not ready and wait a year. This change in the law would remove that option from parents.

West Virginia

With several sponsors introducing HB 2842 has been referred to the Education Committee.

HB 2842 will fund a social worker pilot program for four years. The bill would require each county to employ at least one social worker who would then be stationed in the school with the lowest test scores. The social worker would work alongside school counselors and conduct home visits to address “parent issues, provide parenting education, address social and emotional issues, address physical and mental health issues.”

The stated purpose of the bill is to take pressure off teachers who sometimes have to address abuse, neglect, poor nutrition and health care, behavior problems, and lack of parental involvement. Sometimes, social workers are necessary to assist distressed school children. But it is questionable whether they are needed full time and worth the expense to the tax payer.

Diane Robertson is a mother of many and pro-family advocate. Contact her at diane.etc@gmail.com

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