Indiana lawmakers advance bill targeting K-12 program | News






INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers are moving forward with a series of controversial Republican-backed bills which they say would increase the transparency of K-12 school curricula and prevent students from accessing “harmful materials” in libraries.

One proposalwhich was approved by the House on Wednesday, would require school materials to be posted online and vetted by parent review boards, and restrict teaching about racism and politics.

It would also be limit what teachers can say in class on sensitive topics, prohibiting them from using material that “presents any form of racial or gender stereotyping or blaming on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or political affiliation”.

The bill is now heading to the Senate, where it could be considered as early as next week.

House lawmakers on Tuesday canceled the language of the bill a second time treat in progress concerns raised by teachers and education advocates during Statehouse testimony in recent weeks.

Although the amended bill says schools must still post classroom materials online, educators are only required to post “bibliographic material” rather than daily lesson plans. Any “pre-planned” curriculum for the school year should be made available on the school website or online learning management system by August 1 of each year.

A provision allowing lawsuits if a school fails to respond to complaints about teachers was also amended to cap civil damages for violation at $1,000. Allegations would still be subject to a 30-business-day statute of limitations and must show “willful or wanton” violations of the law, according to the amended bill.

A failed amendment by Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis — who said the bill would lead to increased litigation — would have made the state liable for legal costs, rather than school districts.

“We are afraid of change. We want to tell our kids it’s fine as it is … And we want to tell some parents that if you think the teacher has gone too far, go file a complaint,” DeLaney said Wednesday. “So what do we want our children to do? We don’t want them to be awake. We want them to sleep. That is what this bill proposes: putting our children, their minds and their future to sleep.

Republican Rep. Tony Cook de Cicero, who authored the bill, argued that its goal was to “empower parents” by increasing transparency around school curricula, while allowing for the teaching of historical injustices.

“All of the measures in this bill are necessary to ensure that parents have the opportunity to be aware, in real time, of what is being taught in their students’ classrooms and how,” Cook said.

House Republicans are advancing the bill, even after the Senate effectively rejected a similar proposal.

the Senate Billauthored by Republican Senator Scott Baldwin of Noblesville, would have K-12 schools banned to require a student or employee to “engage in training, guidance, or therapy that exhibits any form of racial or gender stereotyping or blaming on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, colour, national origin or political affiliation”. Teachers would also not be allowed to “include or promote” such concepts in the classroom.

Baldwin was widely condemned this month when he said teachers should be “impartial” when discussing Nazism and other political ideologies. he later backtracked on his commentssaying he meant he “unequivocally” condemns Nazism, Fascism and Marxism, and that he agrees that teachers “should condemn these dangerous ideologies”.

Certain terms of Baldwin’s bill were central to another proposal which advanced to the full Senate on Wednesday.

The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Jim Tomes of Wadesville, said his legislation would remove educational purposes as a reason schools and public libraries could seek legal protection for sharing “harmful material” with minors. This includes books and other content deemed obscene, pornographic or violent.

Legislators have further advanced a Invoice Wednesday that ban transgender women and girls participate in school sports that match their gender identity.

The proposal, which could obtain the approval of the Plenary Assembly on Thursday, would prohibit students who were born male but identify as female by participating in a female-only or girls-only sport or sports team. But that wouldn’t stop students who identify as transgender women or men from playing on men’s sports teams.

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