The GOP Is Trying Very Hard to Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory on Education – Opinion

The Republican Party across the nation is witnessing a shift in public education policy. Parents have been angered by the overreaches and missteps of the public schools, teachers unions and Democrats to the extent that they helped to flip Virginia back to the GOP in November.

So it only makes sense that a Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma wants to ruin that by introducing mind-bogglingly dumb legislation.

Oklahoma Republican Senator Rob Standridge has introduced a bill that would allow people to sue teachers if they offer an opposing view from the religious beliefs held by students.

The proposed act, named the “Students’ Religious Belief Protection Act” means parents can demand the removal of any book with perceived anti-religious content from school. Subjects like LGBT+ issues, evolution, the big bang theory and even birth control could be off the table.

Teachers could be sued a minimum of $10,000 “per incident, per individual” and the fines would be paid “from personal resources” not from school funds, from other individuals or groups. The legislation provides that teachers who are unable to pay would be dismissed.

The act will be introduced into the Education Committee next week, but it doesn’t specify which religious beliefs will be used to prosecute offending teachers.

Senator Standridge is not interested in addressing actual issues within our educational system. Instead, he has declared that he would like to see Scopes Trial revived in fresh and exciting ways. It seems that he is doing fine. Cancellation teachers who would bring up a view that is contrary to a students’ (or, more importantly, a students’ parents’) view. It’s incredibly irresponsible to attempt to scare teachers into behaving a certain way.

This isn’t a serious bill, mind you. It’s a messaging bill. Standridge won’t be ashamed of this message and will continue to campaign on it. This will earn him praise from his fringe supporters. The Republican Party suffers as a party when such insane bills are introduced and receive media attention.

This reinforces the belief that politicians are best at trying to change education. It is wrong to ban opposing views. You know exactly what works. Transparency. Participation of the community

These are seven simple suggestions for policymakers and legislators.

  1. Make public the statutory requirements that lesson plans must meet. There are several stories that float around about teachers trying to be sneaky about what they’re implementing in the classroom. Teachers should post lesson plans online for parents. If they’re working on something that isn’t in the plans, it will be easier to challenge them and call them out.
  2. Provide a method for parents to challenge and review content they are concerned about in a way that is non-disruptive. Parents should have more control over the classroom, and it should be easier for them to participate. Both sides are not seeing the balance.
  3. Reduce the influence of teachers unions through lobbying. They can be reduced by any means. They often pose the largest obstacle to effective education reform.
  4. Establish a peer review system that encourages diversity and allows for public meetings about the content. The system should be able to make any decisions about whether or not it will adopt something. Do not keep quiet about curriculum or policy changes. All information should be transparent
  5. Clarify what curriculum is and what content is. Make it easy for people to understand the difference between content and teaching methodology.
  6. For standards-based grading, push for it. Grading on what students know should be closer to their learning objectives. Education standards are set for all classes, even those that do not count as core.
  7. More options are available for students to choose their school. If schools and systems want to pursue policies parents don’t like, give parents more freedom to choose to send their kids elsewhere.

Republicans are the ones with the momentum. It is time for them to give up trying to destroy it.

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