Last-Minute Bad-for-Education Bills Opposed by IEA

Last-Minute Bad-for-Education Bills Opposed by IEA

Three last-minute bad-for-education bills were introduced on short notice late last week, prompting the IEA to oppose the measures on their first-blush merits and the lack of public input.

All three bills first came to light late Thursday afternoon when the House Education Committee’s agenda for its Friday morning hearing was made public – giving stakeholders and members of the public only a few hours to review the legislation and it potential impacts. All three are sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle).

Here are the bills in question:

House Bill 732 — Defines “homeschooling for the use of government entities”
House Bill 733 — Bans schools from evaluating or questioning students on “non-academic” topics without parental and school board consent
House Bill 734 – Allows parents to opt-out students of mask mandates imposed by public schools

“This legislation directly affects educators, administrators, school boards, students, and families across the state,” said IEA Political Director Chris Parri, when testifying on HB 734 in the House Education Committee on Friday. “When legislation like this appears, the public, including all of those folks I just listed, deserve enough time to read a bill, consider its effects upon their lives, and speak with their representatives.”

Despite the IEA’s opposition, HB 732 (defining homeschooling) was approved by the House Education Committee in a 12-3 vote. Rep. Steve Berch (D-Boise), Rep. John McCrostie (D-Garden City) and Rep. Sally Toone (D-Gooding) were the dissenting votes. The bill will be up for consideration by the full House of Representatives on Monday.

Because of time constraints, the hearing on HB 734 (mask opt-out) could not be completed and the hearing on HB 733 (banning non-academic evaluations/questionnaires) was never started on Friday. The committee will take up both bills first thing Monday.

HB 733 is particularly troublesome. Its intent is to prohibit “non-academic evaluations, questionnaires, surveys or data collection without having parental or guardian permission and approval of school district board of trustees.” It specifically mentions “instruction on matters of social and emotional learning and mental behavioral well-being.”

The IEA will oppose the legislation during Monday’s House Education Committee hearing.

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