The Senate Education and Career Committee is set to make major changes to a bill that saw teachers show up en masse and protest at the Statehouse.
The amendment offered by State Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger) seeks to address many of the concerns raised by educators and maintain the bill’s focus on curriculum transparency, parental involvement in education, and limiting the promotion of concepts that divide students based on their backgrounds.
“The changes I am introducing may not be where we end up on all of these issues, but I am offering them as a good-faith attempt at a compromise that respects the valid concerns of both parents and educators,” Rogers said. “I appreciate the thoughtful discussions I’ve had with hundreds of interested parties on this bill, and I will remain open to input as the legislative process continues.”
Key provisions in Rogers’ amendment are as follows:
- It removes the requirement for educators to post a list of learning materials and instead provides transparency by ensuring parents have access to their school’s learning management system and allowing parents to review any other learning materials used in their child’s classroom upon request.
- It does not require school districts to have curriculum advisory committees but creates a pathway for parents to request a school board to adopt one.
- It removes the current proscriptive complaint process in HB 1134 and requires school districts to adopt their own procedures for handling complaints about the curriculum.
- It removes language about lawsuits for violations of the bill, and instead allows parents to appeal to the Indiana Department of Education to take administrative action for a violation if they remain unsatisfied after following the school’s grievance process.
- It removes the sections about “material harmful to minors” and “sexually explicit materials,” since much of the same language is included in Senate Bill 17.
- It removes language requiring schools to be impartial in teaching about historical events.
- It streamlines the list of “divisive concepts” that schools may not teach to three specific concepts that stereotype people based on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color and national origin. With the amendment, schools could not teach that:
- One group is inherently superior or inferior to another;
- One group should be treated adversely or preferentially; and
- Individuals, by virtue of their traits, are inherently responsible for the past actions of others who share their traits.
- It explicitly states nothing in the chapter shall be construed to exclude the teaching or discussion of factual history or historical injustices committed against any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color or national origin.
- Tt shortens the window of time that schools must wait for parental response before beginning ongoing, nonemergency mental health services for a student. Under the amendment, parents would have seven days to opt their child out of the services if the parents are contacted electronically. In all instances, parents would receive two separate notices giving them the chance to opt their child out of services if the parents disagree with the school’s decision, and the parents would continue to have the ability to end services after they have started.
- It adds language stipulating parental notice requirements do not apply to daily interactions between school staff and students.
- It specifies parental notice isn’t needed to provide services in a crisis situation when a student is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others, or when a student is in immediate danger of abuse or neglect.
The Committee will meet Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.