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Controversial Indiana Bill That Required All School Curricula to be Posted Online Dropped

A bill was dropped by the Indiana state Senate Friday that drew the ire of the state’s teachers union, as it would’ve given more control to parents over what their children are taught by requiring all school curricula to be posted online for parents to review, according to The Associated Press.

The bill would have also restricted what teachers are permitted to teach or say regarding certain topics around politics and race. Republicans in the state Senate worked on the bill throughout the week, the AP reported, before deciding to drop the bill Friday.

It also would bar public schools from requiring students or employees to “engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of racial or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation,” according to WTHR News.

However, two bills concerning transparency in education are still being debated in the state House, one of which passed through an education committee earlier this week.

House Bill 1134, which is reportedly nearly identical to the now-canceled Senate bill, passed the House Education Committee on Wednesday, and could face a vote in the chamber next week, WTHR reported.

Monday, the legislature heard testimony from teachers that opposed the bill. They said it would effectively censor teachers and force them to be careful about every word they say in the classroom, as well as add unreasonable amounts of work to an already packed schedule requiring them to post curriculum online.

“There are some situations around the state that parents get upset because their voice, they feel like it’s not being heard,” Indiana science teacher Paul Farmer testified during the hearing, according to WTHR. “I get that. But there are ways that they can do that locally. We don’t have to have a state law that micromanages every detail of educational life.”

Indiana Republicans Senate House School Bills
The Indiana Statehouse is seen Feb. 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Republicans in the Indiana state Senate said Friday they were abandoning a bill that critics said would have amounted to censorship of what teachers could say in schools.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Tuesday, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association Keith Gambill said his organization is concerned that both the Senate and House bills would add such an increased burden on teachers that it could hurt the future numbers of new teachers joining the state’s school system, according to WRTV News.

“I’m glad that Senate Republicans listened to our well-trained and experienced teachers who testified about the damaging consequences of this bill,” Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor said in a statement Friday, according to the AP. “Indiana’s classrooms should be a place where students can learn about facts and history without censorship.”

A third education-related bill still under consideration in the House would require that students are taught that ideologies including “socialism, Marxism, communism, totalitarianism, or similar political systems are incompatible with and in conflict with the principles of freedom upon which the United States was founded,” according to WRTV.

It would also allow parents to opt their children out of mask or vaccine requirements, and prevent schools from being allowed to require vaccinations against COVID or other diseases, WRTV reported. It is unclear what the prospects of either House bill would be if it were to pass and move on to the state Senate.

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