EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – As Indiana House Bill 1134, “Education Matters”, awaits a vote in the senate, Indiana teachers are protesting.

“I do think there could be a mass exodus of teachers if House Bill 1134 is passed,” said Evansville Teachers Association President Lori Young. “We already have teachers leaving.”

The bill, in it’s own writing, states that it “Provides that a school corporation or qualified school may not promote certain concepts as part of a course of instruction or in a curriculum or director otherwise compel a school employee or student to adhere to certain tenets relating to the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.”

Excluding extra discussion of race, sex and religion aren’t the only things about this bill that are setting teachers aback however.

The general idea behind the bill according to Young is to make education and a student’s curriculum more transparent for the parents, but she says that the execution is misguided.

It would require more oversight of learning materials by the teacher, and more say from the parents. Especially as the bill would allow parents to have their children “opt out” of certain lessons.

“It’s a bill that I feel has been created to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Young, “I know it’s there to help parents to see the curriculum, but parents have already had these rights. Board policies around here allow any parents to go into a classroom, review materials, and even sit in a classroom.”

“It’s a waste of key time,” said Young.

Educators all over the state are planning to “pack the house” in Indianapolis for the next two weeks in protest. They’ll be able to meet their legislators on Saturday, and they hope to drive home the point that they are not going down without a fight.

For the time being, educators all over Indiana are wearing coordinating colors Monday through Thursday to show solidarity.

For Monday, the color blue to represent students who have mental, social-emotional or psychological health needs and how the bill sets up “the unnecessary roadblocks to getting students the help they need”.

For Tuesday, the color black to represent mourning the teachers who may quit their jobs if this passes, and the would-be teachers who will choose different fields because of the strain this bill would put on them.

On Wednesday, the color red for teachers having to post anything they discuss in class online to be reviewed by a committee, and for not being treated “like the highly-trained professionals they are”.

On Thursday, the color green to represent how school corporations could “issue an adjunct teacher permit to an individual with no educational qualifications or training, and pay them at a higher rate than teachers.”

The bill has had its first reading on February 1, and it was referred to the Committee on Education and Career Development.

We’ve received no word yet on when the bill will be voted on in the Senate, but in the meantime educators from all over Indiana will be pleading their case, hoping to knock the bill down before it advances further.

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