Kindergarten, education materials and curriculum bills all faced hearings on the House side.
HB 1163, which allows students who are 5-years-old by September 30 and have passed a screening process to be enrolled in Kindergarten, was passed 12-3 by the House Education committee and the House, 40-28. The Senate Education committee also passed the bill on a 6-1 vote.
Rep. Jess Olson, the bill’s prime sponsor, said it would “clarify the process on Kindergarten enrollment” and give school and parents “flexibility” when it comes to enrolling a student.
As noted, the bill allows a student who will turn 5-years-old by September 30 to enroll in Kindergarten IF they demonstrate readiness through “screening instruments selected and administered by the school district in which the child resides.”
Rep. Sue Peterson, the bill’s prime sponsor, said it “provides transparency” by requiring nearly all education materials for the classroom to be posted on the school district’s website.
“I’m asking your help with no more regulations,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany asked of the committee. “I’m worried about the message this sends to teachers. It assumes there is no transparency.”
Rep. Sue Peterson, the bill’s prime sponsor, said the proposal “will protect our most vulnerable students from being indoctrinated by critical race theory” despite the amended version of HB 1337 never mentioning critical race theory or indoctrination, beyond its title.
The bill says a “state agency or public school district may not allow any curricula, instruction, standards, or training that promotes a divisive concept, or which directs or compels students or employees to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to a divisive concept.”
A “divisive concept” has a wide ranging definition that ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said will create confusion about what “can we talk about” in classrooms and causes problems by superseding the current process of implementing standards and curriculum.
“When we step outside the standards and curriculum process, we make that a very political thing,” Pogany said.