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Omaha Teachers Union Issues Statement Ahead of Legislative Hearing on ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — The Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee will hear testimony Tuesday as more than a dozen senators push for passage of a school transparency bill that includes Parental Rights Bill LB374.

Senator Dave Moorman introduced the bill earlier this month as a way to make schools completely transparent about what’s going on in the classroom and give parents more power over their child’s education, potentially guiding that education more in line with their beliefs.

“It doesn’t seem to be about the kids at all,” Bridget Donovan, former Omaha Educational Association president, told 6 News earlier this month. “It looks like it’s about stirring up political passions, perhaps in adults, but very little to do with actual student learning.”

The bill requires schools and teachers to post all classroom learning materials, lesson plans, activities, exams, books and more online, allowing parents to scrutinize daily classroom content.

Donovan argues that parents already have access to and interact with most educational materials, and that this is an unnecessary step.

Current OEA President Michelle Settlemeyer told 6 News that she believes the bill should not leave the committee. Her full statement reads:

“Parents already have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in these concerns about the materials and content being taught to their children. Teachers take a long time to talk about what is happening in their classrooms. If parents or guardians have concerns, teachers and district officials are, in many cases, more than willing to discuss the issues and make necessary adjustments or changes if needed.”

“Parents should be the main decision makers in their child’s life regarding their religious values, physical, emotional and mental health. School districts should not play a role in this. The primary role of an educator is to provide the content needed to meet the standards set by the State of Nebraska for an individual capable of critical thinking, problem solving, and positive contributions to society in the 21st century. Parents are encouraged to work with their child’s teachers and schools to ensure an open line of communication regarding content or any issues in the classroom.”

“Requiring teachers to release all of their lessons, activities and grades for all to see is blatant. Many companies that the counties work with prohibit such activities due to copyright and technology infringement.”

“The amount of time educators currently spend creating lessons and learning opportunities for their students is already high. Passing this legislation will add to the strain on already overworked teachers who are currently under high expectations and additional stress due to the current statewide teacher shortage crisis.”

This bill should not be promoted outside the committee, it does not promote transparency at all. If anything, it contributes to teachers being a danger to students and not to be trusted.”

According to the bill, if the lessons or activities do not correspond to the values ​​or beliefs of the parents, they can withdraw their students from the courses.

“Parents, by all means, have every right and should teach what their values ​​are in these topics, but education should not teach values, education should give them access to these things,” Donovan said.

6 The news reached out to Senator Moorman ahead of the committee hearing on Tuesday, but received no response.

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