‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ advances in Kansas Statehouse
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A bill aimed at giving parents more oversight with their children’s education advanced in the Kansas Statehouse. If passed, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” gives parents the ability to review and object to their children’s school curriculum or materials used in their children’s classroom.
Eyewitness News on Friday spoke with a group of teachers who contend this bill would harm teachers and students in the long run. If the bill becomes law, parents would get the option to inspect classroom lessons, syllabi, surveys, tests or any additional materials used in the classroom. With the bill making progress in Topeka, many teachers across the state are speaking out against it.
If passed, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” would require K-12 teachers in Kansas to submit their curriculum by June 30 of each school year. Bill Wisbey, parent to a first grader at Enders Elementary School in Wichita, said as parents, it’s nice to be able to know exactly what his child will be learning.
“So, I think it could create a lot of work initially. However, I think that this benefits me. And just from the parental standpoint, (it) would kind of outweigh (the initial challenges) for me,” Wisbey said.
From a teacher’s perspective, 20-year- educator and 2018 Teacher of the Year Samantha Neill is among those voicing opposition to the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
“It’s questioning my integrity. It’s questioning my morals, it’s questioning why I entered this field,” Neill said.
Neill said transparency already exists for parents and the bill’s passage would in the long run, only weaken teacher retention.
“Our local school boards already have policies in place that help us vet curriculum. It has to do with the fact that we don’t have people going into the teaching field there aren’t going to be enough public-school teachers if we don’t get serious about the real issue and get to the table and come up with solutions,” she said.
Haysville Middle School teachers Dana Muncin and Tracie Greening expressed similar sentiment to Neill. They said there is no way to give each child a proper education with a one-size-fits-all lesson plans as education looks different in every community because each child has his/her own different needs.
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