While charter schools are the hot educational topic in Frankfort for most these days, two bills from local legislators moving toward Governor Matt Bevin’s desk show us potentially more distressing issues.
House Bill 454, which is sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Shell, and Senate Bill 159, which is sponsored by Sen. Jared Carpenter, have each passed their respective legislative bodies and are one step closer to being implemented in Kentucky schools.
HB 454 would change curriculum in public schools for grades K-12 to include “essential work skills” and drug abuse education.
It also calls for establishing nine areas of which students would have to complete three in order to graduate. Among those will be no more than six percent absentee rate, 25 hours of community service, extra-curricular activities, work skills development, dual credit hours and voluntary random drug testing.
After HB 454 passed by a 72-21 vote, Shell said the bill is vital so “we can have a prepared workforce, including people who are able to pass a drug test, show up to work on time and solve problems” and added the bill is the “first step in teaching our youth what it truly takes to achieve success.”
While we agree those skills are a must for success, we are disheartened to think that it is needed as required curriculum in schools. The same can be said for SB 159.
The measure would require all public high school students to pass a civics test to receive a regular diploma. Students would have to correctly answer at least 60 of the 100 questions to pass. The test would feature questions drawn from the citizenship test administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to persons seeking to become naturalized citizens.
Carpenter said he proposed the bill after seeing countless TV clips and videos of young adults unable to answer questions such as who is the current vice president or even who was our first president — George Washington.
Far too often we dismiss these things as blissful ignorance and kids just being kids. But, this is part of a disturbing trend we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, many students don’t understand the need for these “essential skills” such as being on time, working well with others and what it means to be an engaged citizen.
As much as we wish we could say differently, these bills are necessary in today’s world.