Columnists

Superintendent’s stance on proposed legislation questioned

Embattled Noblesville superintendent Beth Neidermeyer used her taxpayer-funded accounts to lobby against current Indiana legislation that would give parents the right to know what is in their child’s school curriculum. In a guest column published in the Noblesville Times (Friday, Jan. 14) and posted on the Noblesville School Twitter account and official website, Neidermeyer blasted SB-167 and HB-1134, the pro-parent, pro-student legislation being proposed in the 2022 Indiana General Assembly legislative session . . . and she was not even accurate in her assessment.

Let us break it down, shall we?

First, Neidermeyer claims no teachers or educators were consulted on the legislation. She states, “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.” The only problem with her statement is that one of the key legislators who helped draft the legislative language found in SB-167 and HB-1134 is former Hamilton Heights superintendent and former NHS Principal Tony Cook. He was in the trenches with teachers for many years and has been seen as someone who wants to better the system for all involved rather than make it cumbersome and ineffective.

Second, Neidermeyer claims that the proposed legislation would “prohibit teaching accurate historical facts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.” This is entirely wrong. SB-167 does not touch the state curriculum standards. On page 26, line 30, the bill specifically states that “nothing in this chapter may be construed so as to exclude the teaching of historical injustices committed against any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.” As someone who has a deep love and respect for American history, I would never support any legislation that removes historical teaching from our classrooms. Now, if you are a proponent of revisionist history like that of the 1619 Project, I could see why you are not a fan of this legislation. SB-167 and HB-1134 would keep leftist activists who want to rewrite the core of our history from doing so, and that is something we all should agree is a positive step to take.

Third, Neidermeyer claims that these bills will “prohibit teaching general sociology concepts, both in K-12 education and to adults at the college level.” Wrong again. She’s batting 1000! As stated previously, this legislation does not adjust state curriculum standards.

D, Beth then goes for the heartstrings and throws out this doozie of a claim. She states that 167 and 1134 “threaten to criminalize teachers, driving educators out of a profession that is already undervalued and in the midst of a desperate shortage.” Let’s be clear, just because someone goes into education does not automatically make them an angel sent from heaven above. The same can be true about policing in America. Just because someone becomes a cop does not make them a pure-hearted beacon of justice. The vast majority of teachers are fantastic and have hearts of gold. My mother and grandpa were terrific examples of great teachers and principals. However, I have met some not-so-good teachers in this line of work over the years. Unfortunately, some teachers truly want to usurp the authority of parents and purposefully push anti-American, divisive propaganda onto our children. There must be a way for parents and communities to hold rogue teachers accountable. This is true for any government employee, whether a cop, teacher, or politician. These are some of the critical issues 167 and 1134 do address. For example: if a teacher were actively recruiting students for and endorsing the ideology of organizations like Antifa or the KKK, there would undoubtedly be disciplinary action. Can we not all agree that the hate groups like that of Antifa and the KKK have no business being anywhere near our schools? If SB-167 passes into law, these ideologies will never be permitted to be endorsed to our children.

Also, Neidermeyer mentions the shortage of teachers currently due to the number of positive Covid tests. News flash: there is only a shortage of teachers because of the nonsensical Covid policy that she and the board are buying into. If a teacher has a slight cold, everyone freaks out and goes into hiding for ten days . . . or is it five now?? (Someone, please phone Lord Fauci and ask the great, all-knowing czar of science when we are allowed to come out of our houses again after we have the sniffles. I’m sure it will be clear as mud after he gives a CNN interview . . . or two . . . or twelve.)

Finally, Neidermeyer claims that SB-167 would “redirect time and money away from student academics to manage increased government bureaucracy.” I have to admit that this claim is somewhat comical to me. It may be the first time I have ever heard an entrenched bureaucrat making upwards of $200,000 a year off of the taxpayers call out the ineffectiveness of government bureaucracy. And you know what, she’s absolutely right when it comes to government bureaucracy. Nevertheless, she does not see that this bill was written precisely to reign in an out-of-control bureaucratic education system hurting students and families in our state. But to be fair, on her final claim, Beth is partially correct. It’s like my grandpa used to say, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.”

Neidermeyer goes on to say that “In addition to the great disservice (SB-167) 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.” Really? Has anyone shown Beth the 2021 iLearn testing scores? Not something that screams “strong academic reputations.” Maybe if the administration focused more time on teaching and less time on lobbying for the teacher’s union, we would see an increase in our academic prowess.

Overall, Beth Niedermeyer’s assessment is so far off from reality it makes one question whether or not she read the bill. My hunch is she just copied and pasted the teacher’s union talking points to SB-167 and HB-1134, all while using her taxpayer-funded Twitter account, email, and website to lobby against Hoosier families. Unfortunately, this is just another example of the overly politicized environment administrators like Neidermeyer have turned our schools into. I hope all parents and teachers who have a sincere desire to see the next generation trained up well will get behind SB-167 and HB-1134.

(To read Superintendent Neidermeyer’s blog post, here is the link.) https://www.noblesvilleschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=70&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=23783&PageID=1

Micah Beckwith has been serving the Hamilton County and Central Indiana area for more than 17 years. He has pastored multiple churches, including his current Life Church in Noblesville. He has been a small business owner and a 2020 Congressional candidate. He is the director of the Indiana Family Institute’s Hoosier Leadership Series and Executive Director of Indiana Family Action – an organization dedicated to raising up elected conservative leaders within local, state and federal government.