By Dr BETH NIEDERMEYER
Superintendent of Noblesville Schools
Indiana Education Bill Senate Bill 167 recently made national news because of some of the alarming consequences this legislation could impose on public schools if passed.
Education legislation is often written without any input from actual educators and without concern for how it will actually work in the real world. I feel it is my responsibility to share what this bill would mean for schools in Noblesville and schools across the state.
In its current form, the legislation:
- Prohibit teaching specific historical facts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.
- Prohibit the teaching of general sociology concepts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.
- Threatening to criminalize teachers, driving educators out of a profession that is already undervalued and in dire need.
- Reallocate time and money to university students to manage increased government bureaucracy.
In addition to the disservice this would do Hoosier students, it also threatens the strong academic reputation of our Indiana educational institutions and our ability as a state to attract residents and economic development.
The bill talks about the importance of transparency in education programs for parents and taxpayers, and on this point I completely agree.
In fact, the public already has the right to review programs, raise concerns, ask questions, provide feedback and request accommodations.
At Noblesville Schools, we regularly engage with our audience in this way, including (1) community representatives on our annual curriculum review teams, (2) digital classroom accounts so that parents can follow and review lessons and class materials, (3) parent/teacher meetings, open houses and communications with teachers, and (4) academic content on our website.
We have made significant improvements to the curriculum section of our website and are currently adding even more academic content, by grade level and subject, to make this information easier for the public to access.
School legislation impacts not only students today, but also the success of our state in the future. I urge the community of Noblesville to find your legislators and raise your voice for students, teachers, and a strong Indiana.
You can find more information on SB 167, similar bills in House HB 1134 and HB 1040, and other education bills in the Indiana General Assembly.