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 multiple curriculum-related measures. Here's a rundown of the most notable bills, listed by topic, along with their most recent updates:
House Bill 377, which aims to reduce testing throughout K-12, advanced in the North Carolina House of Representatives. The proposal would eliminate end-of-course tests by 2021, and instead of taking end-of-year tests, students in grades 3-8 would have three "check-ins" throughout the year.
West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice vetoed Senate Bill 624, which would have let counties use tests other than the SAT for their 11th grade standardized exams. The SAT currently serves as the default statewide standardized test for high schools.
Equity in schools
- Under a Vermont bill, an advisory group would guide the State Board of Education on creating ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools. The state's Republican governor, Phil Scott, signed the proposal, House Bill 3, and the working group will be up and running by September.
- The Oregon State Legislature is considering several bills related to equity in schools and among students, including at least two centered on curriculum and/or learning. House Bill 2023 would require the State Board of Education to adopt textbooks and other instructional materials that sufficiently cover the contributions of minority groups.
- House Bill 2897, on the other hand, would establish an early-childhood equity fund that supports culturally specific early learning. Both Oregon bills remain in the House as of April 3.
Human trafficking curriculum
- A bipartisan bill, House Bill 259, would revise Florida public schools' health education requirements to include information on child abuse and human trafficking. The measure hit the House Education Committee on April 1.
- An Oklahoma bill aims to update the state's HIV/AIDS curriculum, which is mandatory in public schools but, according to the measure's sponsor, hasn't been revamped since 1987.
- While it's not a proposal up for debate in the legislature, the state of Arizona got slapped with a lawsuit over its sex education curriculum. Since 1991, state public and charter schools' HIV/AIDS instruction has been barred from "promoting a homosexual lifestyle," positively portraying a homosexual lifestyle and "suggesting that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex." Two gay rights organizations filed the suit.
- As of August 2018, 38 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or changed curriculum standards to mandate that high school students get hands-on CPR training before they graduate, according to the American Heart Association. A Pennsylvania measure, Senate Bill 115, would make hands-only CPR training a high school graduation requirement. The bill was approved in the Senate on March 27 and sent to the House for debate.