Empowering Pa. parents or inciting the public? New education bill passes committee

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Should parents have veto power over what their kids are taught? A new bill would give them more oversight. Supporters say it’s about transparency. Critics say it’s about much more.

House Bill 1332 would require all school districts to publish, online, a curriculum it’s teaching students to give parents easy access. “Many school districts across the commonwealth already do this but there’s no current standardized requirement across the commonwealth,” Bill Author, Representative Andrew Lewis (R) said.

Republicans say it’s about transparency and letting parents play a more active role in their kid’s education. “I think no better caus than that and I think that will alleviate a lot of the mistrust between the public and government schools,” Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams, Franklin, Cumberland) said.

But Democrats see ulterior motives. “The bill is not about transparency. It’s about stoking a conflict between the public and teachers who are working very hard under tremendous stress to educate our kids,” Sem. Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny) said.

“I’m for transparency,” Gov. Wolf said. But he isn’t for this bill saying it could allow important topics that should be taught to be censored. “Anything that’s sort of a hidden, disingenuous attempt to keep certain types of discussion off the board seems to me to be wrong.”

But tensions are high as mask mandates have shown and supporters say partnering with parents on curriculum could calm things down. It passed out of committee on party lines. “For some reason, a veil of secrecy over what’s going on in the classroom is only going to feed into a political environment that they’re trying to hide something,” Chairman of the Education Committee, Sen. Scott Martin (R) said.

The bill still has to go to the full Senate and then it’s on to the governor.

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