Legislation Continues To Drive Expectations In Education

Over several decades students at all levels of education have been cunningly subjected to a perverse ideology of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This is coupled with social-emotional learning (SEL), which instructs students to focus on emotions versus logic. This failure in education has culminated in people who don’t think, can’t function, are easily offended, and are quick to engage in violence.

 

Fingers get pointed at parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members. The truth is there is a lack of integrity and moral courage. Too many parents have ceded their role to schools. Teachers are ignoring policies and rules to introduce inappropriate instruction. Administrators seek to maximize retirement income. Most egregiously, school boards plead ignorance, subvert laws, and approve policies that provide limited to no benefit to student learning.

 

Let’s acknowledge that COVID had an unintended consequence. We’ve all read accounts of what many have seen and experienced over the past several years regarding instruction. It gave parents and grandparents the ability to enter the classroom during mandated lockdowns. The genie got out of the bottle and education elites are desperately trying to put the genie back into it. But, many of their efforts aren’t working!

 

Now state legislatures are taking action. Elected ideologues were and are focused on changing constitutions and rules by passing bills that push ideology over education. However, recent elections have seen more conservatives winning in many states. The result is more proposed bills are being voted on and passed that support students, parents, and reversing course.

 

All legislation has unintended consequences and implementation is where the rubber meets the road. With that said, here are some education bills from recent sessions in four states regarding the direction of education.

 

Arizona

Several education bills were introduced regarding parents’ rights, health, and gender. Some mentionable bills include HB2041, HB2183, HB2310, HB2448, and HB2657. The amount of effort expended to ensure parents have input, information, and rights over their children via legislation continues to be baffling. Nevertheless, this is the system we have allowed.

 

A thought-provoking bill, HB2086 county school superintendents; qualifications, will have unions crying foul. It removes the requirement for county superintendents to hold “a basic or standard certificate to teach in the schools of this state.” If districts and states want positive change to student learning, it will require a dismantling of the status quo. There are too many administrative positions filled by educators rather than individuals with business acumen. This has the potential to cause an unintended consequence of becoming efficient and effective.

 

California

The legislature introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 665 – Minors: Consent to Mental Health Services that allows children 12 years or older to consent to treatment, counseling, or shelter services if they are “mature enough to participate intelligently.” The bill, signed into law Oct 7, 2023, stipulates the professional person treating or counseling the student will determine if parental involvement is appropriate or not with services paid through the Medi-Cal program. If the parents participate then they must pick up the tab. Could this be a deterrent to parental involvement?

 

This bill had an intended consequence, which was to divide families. CA’s far-left efforts focus on the removal of parents from their children’s lives by any means. There have been numerous cases around the nation where parents continue to be ignored, targeted, canceled, arrested, or worse, merely for taking action to protect their children. What would you do if the system pitted your child against you? Any logical, sane parent would fight back.

 

Florida

A wide range of education bills have been passed over the last several years. Some were more controversial than others, but the majority were intended to strengthen parental rights, offer more educational choice, and protect children. The 2024 session introduced HB931 School Chaplains. School districts and charter schools will have the authority to adopt a policy for chaplains to serve in a volunteer capacity, meet screening requirements, and publish an approved list of chaplains, including religious affiliation. With mental health and behavioral issues rising, schools could offer another support choice. Districts and charters choosing to adopt a policy must ensure parents are informed and written consent is obtained. The Governor recently signed this bill, so expect a lawsuit.

 

Wide open borders and millions of undocumented migrants entering our nation provide challenges including grooming and sex trafficking. The HB1135 Lewd and Lascivious Grooming gives a definition and attaches penalties for persons engaged in this practice. Protecting children is challenging enough without having illegal and inappropriate activity in schools. Defining and punishing perpetrators is a definite step in the right direction. In addition, minimizing technology in schools can benefit and save children from depraved entrapment.

 

Virginia

The General Assembly proposed HB853 Students; Department of Education to establish a uniform system of discipline for disruptive behavior. We know student behavior is worsening. Some students do bring weapons to schools. Others cause physical harm to teachers and students, miss classes, destroy property, and more. Teachers get minimal to no administrative support. When a disruptive student is sent to the office, that student is often sent right back to the classroom with no consequences doled out.

 

So why would this bill not pass? An argument for tabling the bill centers around authority. The state would provide a minimum uniform system of discipline versus school boards. However, if feckless school boards aren’t effective, then the state must protect students from harmful, unhealthy behavior by providing a framework. In this case, it appears the state wants to support school boards, not usurp their authority.

 

A school district in southwest VA is discussing the closure of 5 of the 12 elementary schools due to a declining student population. Parents are realizing there are options and many are choosing to seek alternatives to public school. Could it be closing schools is an unintended consequence of pushing a radical ideology that promotes harmful and unhealthy behavior?

 

Stay the Course

The past several years have shown we need a large dose of integrity and moral courage in our public schools. Recent bills being proposed and passed in many states reflect the needle is moving toward common sense in both chambers. These new laws are hampering education union’s ability to retain the status quo so they can retain their control. Recent actions by union leaders are having the unintended consequence of realizing diminishing returns.

 

The genie seems determined to remain outside the bottle. With legislation that’s been passed, parents speaking out, and groups organizing to provide resources to give voice to the voiceless, the bottle will eventually break, never to be entered into again. Be encouraged! Positive change will continue to occur in districts and states that promote parental rights and school choice. If you don’t like what you see or where you are, exercise your right to choose. As President Reagan once stated: vote with your feet!

 

Dr. Karen Hiltz is a former school board member and FreedomWorks’ BEST Advisor

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