Columnists

Superintendent Niedermeyer on Senate Bill 167

Dr. Beth Niedermeyer

Superintendent, Noblesville Schools

Proposed Indiana education legislation Senate Bill 167 has made national news recently due to some of the alarming consequences this legislation could impose on public schools if it were to be adopted into law.

Education legislation is often written without any input from actual educators and with little regard for how it will actually work in the real world. I feel it’s my responsibility to share what this proposed legislation would mean for Noblesville Schools and schools throughout the state.

As currently written, the legislation would:

Prohibit teaching accurate historical facts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.

Prohibit teaching general sociology concepts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.

Threaten to criminalize teachers, driving educators out of a profession that is already undervalued and in the midst of a desperate shortage.

Redirect time and money away from student academics to manage increased government bureaucracy.

In addition to the great disservice this would do to Hoosier students, it also stands to threaten the strong academic reputations of our Indiana educational institutions, and our ability as a state to attract residents and economic development.

The legislation does speak to the importance of curriculum transparency for parents and taxpayers and on this point I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, the public already has the right to review curriculum, express concerns, ask questions, provide input and seek accommodations.

At Noblesville Schools we engage regularly with our public in this manner including (1) community representatives on our annual curriculum program review teams, (2) digital classroom accounts so parents can follow and review class lessons and materials, (3) parent/teacher meetings, open houses and teacher communications, and (4) academic content on our website.

We’ve made significant enhancements to the curriculum area of our website and are currently adding even more academic content, by grade level and subject, for easier public access to this information. 

School legislation impacts not only the students of today, but the success of our state in the future. I urge the Noblesville community to find your legislators and make your voices heard in support of students, teachers and a strong Indiana.

You can find more information on SB 167, similar bills in the House HB 1134 and HB 1040, and other proposed education legislation at the Indiana General Assembly.