Some good news, for once

The Indiana state Senate, in a rare moment of sanity, has defanged the grotesque HB 1134, removing the vast majority of what made it so offensive, including the requirement that teachers post daily lesson plans for the entire year by either June 30 or August 1 of each year, depending on which version of the bill you were looking at. It appears to have been watered down to a vague suggestion that school districts create curriculum advisory committees that parents can be on, which I’d be willing to bet most of them already have, and which one way or another is not an especially onerous change. I did enjoy this bit from the article, however:

Dawn Lang, a Fishers mom of three kids, said she likes the part of the bill that will provide her access to her school’s learning management system. She said parents are frustrated and want more transparency in their children’s education. 

Dawn Lang lives in Fishers, which is a wealthy suburb of Indianapolis, and I absolutely one hundred percent guarantee you that she already has full access to her school’s LMS. Every LMS I’ve ever seen allows parental access. My kids’ parents can see every assignment and can see their kids’ attendance and grades in real-time, and can even set things up to get alerts when I update grades. And this isn’t exactly new technology; it’s been available in my district for easily half a decade if not longer than that. She has the access; she’s either too dumb to be able to use it, in which case the law isn’t going to help her, or she’s lying, in which case the law is written specifically for people like her.

What does this mean for me? Good question! This law was going to guarantee that I wasn’t going to return to teaching next year, and while it’s always possible that some sort of fuckery will take place (the House assumes no one’s watching, restores the old language, and bounces it back to the Senate during the reconciliation process, the Senate passes the original, fucked bill, and Holcomb signs it) I don’t know that I think it’s especially likely. This year’s legislative Armageddon at least appears to be, against all expectations, dead. Will there be more fuckery next year? Yep. Sure will, and this bill wasn’t the only reason I want to leave; recall that my administrators have been fired as well, for example, and, oh, every single other thing about this year. But it means that there’s not a “have to quit by” date attached to my current career, and that I can at least take some time and see if there are other school-related jobs that I might want next year. It’s gone from an impending crisis to something that is still very much a big deal but no longer runs any risk of actual unemployment. I’ll take it.

In other news, we did have school today, although literally all but one of the other school districts within shouting distance were closed. And, honestly, as it turns out, it was a touch on the risky side but I think it was the right call. My drive home was kinda dodgy, but you can’t live through too many Indiana winters without learning how to handle “kinda dodgy,” and as the middle schools are the last to dismiss in my district, I have to assume the high schools and primary centers were able to get everybody home without any particular drama. Hell, attendance was even pretty good today, and most of the day was, unbelievably, calm. Again, I’ll take it.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.