This article is part of a biweekly roundup that outlines curriculum-related state education policy news.
In the past few 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:
- An Oregon bill to allow public schools to offer gun safety and accident prevention classes to 1st graders, which is unlikely to advance past its initial public hearing, is expected to return next legislative session, the Salem Statesman Journal reports. If passed, the bill would authorize districts and public charter schools to give a 30-minute class each year.
- In Connecticut, legislation called "Ethan's Law," in honor of a boy who accidentally shot and killed himself at a friend's house last year, would require the state Board of Education to develop a firearm safety curriculum for students. While the bill is in its early stages, the late boy's mother and a longtime educator are teaming up to create a related curriculum outline.
- If passed, House Bill 477 would require Montana's Office of Public Instruction to create a gun safety curriculum for students. The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.
Social studies standards
- A Michigan proposal — though not up for debate in the state legislature — aims to cut several topics, including climate change, the Ku Klux Klan, "core democratic values," LGBT rights and Roe v. Wade from K-12 social studies curriculum standards. The cuts were ultimately rejected.
An Ohio law that recently went into effect requires the state education department to include supplemental instructional material on cursive in the English language arts curriculum. It encourages students to print letters and words in cursive by 3rd grade and to write legibly by 5th grade, and districts can choose to add some or all the materials to their curricula.
A change to the Texas education curriculum will go into effect starting this fall. Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, students will need to be able to write legibly in cursive by the end of 5th grade.
- Under House Bill 1559, Illinois high schools would be allowed to include media literacy in their curricula. The bill has passed in the state House and is now in the state Senate.
- If passed, a Colorado bill would create a media literacy advisory committee within the state's education department, as well as implement media literacy in elementary and secondary education standards. The bill remains in the state House.
- Assembly Bill 314, which aims to add digital days — counted school days when students can stay home and complete work during inclement weather — to Nevada state law, died because of a legislative deadline, leaving the program's future uncertain.