A controversial school curriculum bill underwent several changes before being passed through the House this week. The changes aim to address concerns about teachers’ workloads, parents’ authority over curriculum, and limits to classroom conversations about race.
House lawmakers eased some of the reporting requirements for schools – House Bill 1134 now says teachers have to post an outline of planned classroom materials by Aug. 1 each year. Those would include textbooks, articles and surveys teachers plan to use throughout the school year, as well as course syllabi.
The bill also no longer allows parents to opt in and out of classroom content online.
Parent-led curriculum advisory committees would be made up of mostly parents, but school boards would appoint members to the committee too. School boards would have the final say over any recommendations from those committees, but would also need a policy on the books outlining how parents can access classroom content.
One of the main features of the bill is that it would prohibit the promotion of eight different concepts focused on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation – from discrimination based on those traits to students’ feelings about their own identity and past actions by people who might share some aspect of it.
Lawmakers added language for the Indiana Department of Education to provide guidance for educators about how to follow parameters of the bill, including guidance on how teachers should navigate those rules.
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Other additions to the bill would cap the amount of time people would have to file complaints for violations of the legislation, as well as any award amounts from court cases complainants might initiate. Language was added into the bill allowing schools to provide ongoing mental, psychological or social-emotional support if they can’t reach parents to get consent for those services after two attempts.
The bill now moves to the Senate.