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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Opinion: For everyone concerned about education in Indiana…

“Isn’t it ironic?” so the song goes, although the lyrics tend to involve more of a series of unfortunate events than ironic occurrences. But isn’t it ironic that Indiana’s House of Representatives passed HB 1134, which adds yet another layer of burdensome administrative duties to our educators, during National School Choice week?

And I thought schools were supposed to be about teaching students. Silly me. HB 1134, supported by our local state representative in District 65 will, among many things, require schools to create a curriculum committee comprised of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members, and dictate parameters for composition of the committee. Moreover, it creates opt-out provisions for certain subject matters, which already exists in most schools anyway.

The politicians say it is all about transparency in what kids are taught in school. But don’t let the window dressing obscure your vision. HB 1134 is a knee-jerk political reaction to a perceived national problem. In reality, your local schools are already doing through other means much of what HB 1134 requires. Schools should be, and most are, transparent about their curriculum and our children’s education. Parents have many opportunities to engage with the curriculum committee, to interact directly with teachers, administrators, and school boards, and be involved in the parent-teacher organization.

Every parent should be actively involved in their children’s education in some manner or another, even if it is just making sure kids do their homework on time and understand the material.

So if schools are already doing much of what HB 1134 requires, why the fuss? Any administrative duties for the sake of political window-dressing is just another of many tasks that take our teachers away from doing what they love, which is teaching our children. Instead, teachers, who are on the front lines of the pandemic every single day, are worn down, exhausted, and many are disillusioned with the profession because of all of the bureaucracy. I tend to trust teachers more than politicians to know what kids need to be taught in school and to address parents’ concerns directly.

Parents have a choice, many choices, in their child’s education. If parents have problems with how the school system is educating their children, they can simply find a school system that is compatible with their beliefs. There are numerous charter schools with different missions, curricula, and goals. Adding an unnecessary and burdensome administrative layer is not the answer to this perceived problem. The answer lies in parental involvement in choosing a school with the vision and mission they support. Whether it is actually ironic or simply an unfortunate event, HB 1134 has passed the House and has moved on to the Senate. HB 1134 should never reach the Governor’s desk.

Joby D. Jerrells

Trustee, Springville Community Academy

Springville Community Academy is a charter school located in Springville, Indiana, open for enrollment fall of 2022. The academy is open to the public and any student may attend. The views expressed herein are solely the view of the author and do not represent the views of Springville Community Academy or any other organization.

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