Vic’s Statehouse Notes #364 – HB 1134
Thank you for your notes and messages to lawmakers! They have helped kill House Bill 1182 that would have made school boards partisan. This is significant!
Your grassroots efforts make a tremendous difference when bad ideas are considered by lawmakers.
Unfortunately, HB 1134 passed the House and now needs to be rejected by the Senate. Your help is needed to send messages directly to President Pro Tem Bray and other Senators.
Senator Bray announced last week that even though the Senate rejected SB 167 which was nearly identical to HB 1134, he expected an amendment to be added to HB 1134, and he expected the amended bill to be given full consideration in the Senate.
The earliest date for the Senate Education Committee hearing on HB 1134 would be Wednesday February 16 at the committee’s regular 1:30 p.m. meeting. While the hearing has not been confirmed, the best time to send messages to committee members is before February 16.
It’s time to let Senator Bray and all senators know that, no matter how HB 1134 is tweaked by an amendment, it has fatal flaws that would deeply damage Indiana public schools. This is only a partial list of flaws:
- It is the biggest regulation of teachers and the teaching process in our state’s history, requiring all materials and “bibliographic” information to be posted online by “August 1 each year.” Ironically, this is coming from the supermajority that in former days claimed to oppose regulations.
- The August 1 posting must “identify specific textbooks, audiovisual, electronic, digital, library, or other learning materials, including the title and the author, organization, or Internet address.”
- This is an unfunded mandate. Obviously, having every Hoosier teacher post their curriculum by August 1 each year would be a huge expense in time and money, but the bill ignores these expenses to school corporations. The fiscal impact statement says only that “requirements represent an additional workload” and “existing staffing and resource levels” could be “insufficient.”
- By micromanaging teacher materials and activities, it shows that the General Assembly does not trust Indiana teachers. The blunt message of HB 1134 is: teachers are not trustworthy.
- This disappointing message will make the teacher shortage in Indiana worse as veteran teachers leave or retire and new teachers graduating from college decide to teach in neighboring states.
- The spontaneity and creativity will be taken out of teaching, confining teaching lessons to materials already on the web portal or materials to be posted within days of their use.
- These provisions will damage only public schools. Private schools are not covered by HB 1134, even though private schools have received over $1 billion of state tax money since 2011.
- A barrage of curriculum complaints would be a serious burden for school administrators. Complaints must be given a response by the principal within five days, a decision that can be appealed to the superintendent, who must respond in 10 days. That decision can be appealed to the school board, which has 30 days to respond. The board decision can be appealed to the Indiana Department of Education which has 30 days to respond. The department’s ruling can be appealed in court in a lawsuit. The potential in this bill for intimidating teachers is clear.
It is important to send messages opposing HB 1134 right away to members of the Senate Education Committee and Career Development listed below:
Senator.Raatz@iga.in.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Senator.Baldwin@iga.in.gov, Senator.Buchanan@iga.in.gov, Senator.Donato@iga.in.gov, Senator.Kruse@iga.in.gov, Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov, Senator.Rogers@iga.in.gov, Senator.Kyle.Walker@iga.in.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also send to Senate leaders: Senator.Bray@iga.in.gov; Senator.Holdman@iga.in.gov; Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov; Senator.Mishler@iga.in.gov
Vic Smith email@example.com
Vic’s Statehouse Notes and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!
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