(WHTM) – There are parents and politicians who believe schools are trying to indoctrinate their children on various topics including race and sexuality.
Two bills advancing at the state capitol aim to do something about that.
If these bills were to advance and actually become law, they could reshape the education system and have a major impact on how and what children are taught.
Duffy Batzer, a teacher for the Carlisle School District said, “You are limiting children’s access to information on a broad scale.”
Misguided and unnecessary, that’s how one teacher sees these bills.
Batzer said, “Just seems smacks of censorship to me.”
Senate bills 7 and 340 passed the chamber Wednesday – mostly along party lines.
One would require parents to sign a form allowing their child to read books deemed as sexually explicit. The other would require teachers to post their syllabus and curriculum online.
Doug Mastriano (R-Adams and Franklin Counties), said “What’s the harm in that? Unless there’s something being taught we’re trying to hide.”
Mastriano has his name on both bills. He calls them empowering for parents and argues they’re in charge of their child’s education.
“I remember growing up in the Cold War and listening to how kids in the soviet union were indoctrinated and parents had no say in education. We are headed – not hyperbolic – we’re headed in that direction,” said Mastriano.
“This idea that we’re indoctrinating because we are trying to teach children critical thinking and an openness to information is just it’s very frustrating,” said Batzer.
Teachers, like Duffy Batzer, are concerned and argue the legislation has holes.
Batzer said, “Nobody has come forth and exactly explained what criteria puts something in the sexually explicit category. Who gets to make that list? Where’s it coming from? Are you going to include science books and health books and art books?”
Both bills have drawn opposition from the Pennsylvania School Library Association and the Pennsylvania Teachers Association.
Mastriano is saying they’re more interested in control than transparency.
“I’d say we’re more concerned about critical thinking and open education,” said Bratzer.
Both of these bills now face an uncertain future as they head to the Democratic-controlled house.