For years now classrooms and school board meetings have become the front lines of a clash between career educators and conservative parents, who are looking for more control over what their kids are being taught.
“Educators must be reined in from wasting precious school time from indoctrinating students from CRT, CSE or SEL,” said Robbie Adams, a testifier in support of LB374.
Increasing control for parents could be coming from LB374, introduced by education committee chair Dave Murman.
The bill establishes a parental bill of rights, which allows parents the right to view digital copies of all teaching material that could be used in a classroom that year, a process to appeal material parents might find inappropriate, and allow parents to opt their students out of content or activities they deem inappropriate.
“Today we are asking our legislators to protect our children and my grandchildren and not succumb to the pressures of educational bureaucracy of teachers unions and vast government educational entities,” said Bill Forbes, a grandparent who testified in support of LB374.
While the bill is focused on education there were very few educators at the hearing in support of the bill.
In particular, the mechanism it uses to keep teachers in line with parents’ wishes was a top concern for the educators at the hearing.
“Is it really good public policy to permit parents to sue schools because they don’t like one book or another in the school library? Should we be giving a single parent the right to dictate the education of all of our children,” said Dr. Shavonna Holman with Omaha Public Schools.
Opponents also argued the Transparency Portal would put too much extra work on already overworked teachers and create an environment where one upset parent could dictate the education of all the kids in the classroom.
At the heart of the issue for many educators though is the implication of the bill: that Nebraska’s hardworking teachers can’t be relied upon to educate our students.
“We just came out of a pandemic where educators move heaven and earth to keep our kids safe and learning in our buildings. Rather than receiving any kind of thanks the chair of the education committee has introduced a bill that at our, teachers are not to be trusted,” said Tim Royer, President of the Millard Education Association.
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