This article is part of a biweekly roundup that outlines curriculum-related state education policy news.
In the past two weeks, state lawmakers across the nation have considered curriculum-related measures. Here's a list of the most notable bills, listed by topic, along with their most recent updates:
- Senate Bill 83, which would allow Georgia high schools to offer elective courses on the Old and New Testament, passed through a House committee on March 7 and has yet to go up for a vote in the chamber.
- A Missouri bill aims to create high school elective courses on the New Testament as well as Hebrew scriptures. The bill received initial approval from the House and has not yet reached the Senate.
- The Florida House's PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee endorsed a bill that would require each school district to offer electives on religion, Hebrew scriptures and the Bible.
- Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia are also considering bills to expand Bible education in schools.
- An Illinois bill, which would require public school students to learn about the historical contributions of the LGBT community in the nation and in the state, passed in the state House of Representatives on March 13. The bill now heads to the Senate for review.
- If passed, a Maryland bill would add classes in computer programming language, which middle and high school students could take to fulfill a foreign language requirement. As of now, this requirement can be satisfied by taking a world language, American Sign Language or advanced technology education. The bill is currently in the House of Delegates.
Diversity in curriculum
- Two proposals in the Connecticut legislature aim to increase the diversity of public school curricula. House Bill 7082 would mandate African-American studies to be part of social studies instruction, and its companion legislation, House Bill 7083, calls for the inclusion of Puerto Rican and Latino studies. Students and other advocates testified in favor of the bills at a public hearing on March 6.
- A bill that would create an Ethnic and Social Equity Standards Advisory Working Group — which would be charged with creating a more diverse curriculum to represent Vermont's students — is headed to Republican Gov. Phil Scott's desk after passing in both chambers of the legislature.
- House Bill 2868 would create a work-based learning curriculum for Illinois students to network with local businesses and try their hand at real-life skills they might need for college or a career after high school. The bill passed out of a House committee and has yet to go up for a vote in the full chamber.