The Senate has just voted 24-11 for SCR 134, a resolution sponsored by Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, that rejects the high school curriculum redesign rule that the House Education Committee accepted last week. There was a long and intense debate, and in the end, the strong Senate vote came over the objections of Senate Education Chair John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, who debated twice against the resolution.
“Thirty-nine states require (of) their students more than we do,” Goedde told the Senate. “More and more states are raising the bar. Do we want to be among them, or do we want to be on the sidelines as other states better prepare their students?”
The redesign plan, developed by the state Board of Education, would require four years of math in high school and three years of science, plus a senior project and other requirements. But Schroeder noted that public comment has been running strongly against the rule, and people are concerned about electives and a well-rounded education. “Should we use the power of the government to force something upon the people that they don’t want?” he asked.
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said, “I stand before you not only as a senator but as a mom.” She told of sitting down with her son to decide which courses he should take in high school to match his career goals – and how those goals, and the appropriate courses, differed among her two kids. “We want our students to have the very best education, well-rounded in all subjects,” Keough said. “I don’t think we’ve looked at the entire picture. We need to do some more homework.”
Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, also spoke out. “The assumption by this rule (is) that all high school students would be better off if they took four years of math and three of science. … The fact of the matter is not all people have an acuity for math. … If a person is math-oriented, if they’re going to be a rocket scientist, they’re going to take the math anyway.”
SCR 134 now moves to the House. If it passes there, it undoes the House committee’s decision, and the board’s redesign rule dies.