What About SB266?

We applaud the intentions of the authors to address the concerns that public schools are facing today, but tragic situations lead to bad legislation.

IAHE Action, along with our sister organization IAHE, continues to receive questions about SB266. As we wait with so many of you to see the bill’s status, we thought it would be helpful to share a recap of recent events.

When Senate Bill 266 was originally introduced on January 7, 2019, it was only nine pages long. The original intent of the bill was to address public school issues of mental health screening, safety, privacy, and other education matters.

By mid-February, the bill passed through the Appropriations Committee and emerged as a monstrosity far beyond the scope of the original. The revised bill shifted from providing services in the public school to a mandate for local schools to in essence become mental health providers for ALL children from birth through the age of 22.

Suddenly, a bill to address public school issues became a serious threat for ALL parents.

Compare the bill’s language from the original to the latest draft:

Prior to the Senate’s third reading, IAHE Action spoke with one of the bill’s co-authors Senator Dennis Kruse. He shared that the bill no longer held the protections he had worked to include. He shared that if the protections that he had fought for were not reinstated he would vote against the bill.

In February, Freedom Project said:

The legislation, dubbed SB 266, also furthers government meddling in the lives of children from birth through age 22. All children will be routinely screened for “mental-health” issues, with schools becoming de facto mental-health institutions. Indiana activists slammed the provisions as another step toward government control from cradle to grave.

Alex Newman 

Watch the Freedom Project Media’s, Duke Pesta, discuss the impact of this bill.

Testimony before the Senate on February 26th was heartfelt on both sides. One of the bill’s authors, Sen Crider, shared that the bill was written in the face of the May 2018 shooting in Noblesville. IAHE Action agrees that the public schools need effective tools to address the challenges that they are facing, but SB 266 gives authority to the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana to target and identify any child for mental health screening. It is clear that the public school system is facing a severe crisis of addressing the needs of their students but as Sen Young testified “this bill will haunt you.”

It’s clear that the intentions of the original bill have been buried beneath an outside agenda.

In spite of an outcry of concern, the bill passed the Senate 29 to 20 and Sen Kruse removed himself as a co-author after the bill passed.

How did your Senator vote?

Check the Roll Call here.

Intentions of men vs. a very bad bill

In spite of the quiet during the middle of the legislative session, SB 266 is still alive and waiting for a hearing before the House Education Committee. Earlier this month we spoke with Sen Head about our concerns. He shared that the bill as it passed through the Senate was being amended and that the concerns being expressed by IAHE, IAHE Action, and many others would be addressed before the bill reached the House.

Is it possible for the authors to revise SB 266 to a point that addresses ALL of the concerns? Not likely. We applaud the intentions of the authors to address the concerns that public schools are facing today, but tragic situations lead to bad legislation.

Advance America

What’s next?

IAHE Action is actively watching for the reemergence of SB 266 in the House. Many people have been proactive with calling their Representatives and urging them to vote no on this bill… even though it has not been filed or scheduled for a hearing yet.

How different will the bill be once it shows back up? No one knows.

Will another bill take it’s place?

Sunday, March 17th, an article in the Pharos Tribune highlighted that a similar bill from the House (HB 1004) is in place to address these same issues in a manner with the same disregard for parental rights as SB 266.

Indiana Liberty Coalition shared:

House Bill 1004 is scheduled to be heard tomorrow afternoon in the Senate Education Committee. This bill is nearly as bad as SB266. It will allow government schools to set up the same mental health services/providers in schools along with social-emotional wellness services. We’ve shared with you many dangers on social-emotional learning and what is coming. This bill also includes the Youth Risk Behavior Survey which is a survey loaded with sexual questions and drives the funding for comprehensive sex ed into Indiana.

Neither bill is targeting the homeschool community on the surface, but full-scale attacks on parental rights will impact all parents. Both bills have now crossed over to the other side of the Indiana General Assembly and are facing new hearings. Both bills are still on the table for the second half of the session and IAHE Action encourages you to stay alert.

HB 1004: Call to Action

Call the Senate Education Committee and ask them to vote “NO” on HB1004.
Senate: (800) 382-9467
Chairman: Sen. Raatz (bill sponsor)
VP Chairman: Sen. Crane
Majority Members: Sen. Buchanan, Sen. Freeman, Sen. Kruse, Sen. Leising, Sen. Rogers and Sen. Spartz
Minority Members: Sen. Melton, Sen. Mrvan and Sen. Stoops

SB 266: Call to Action

Call the House Education Committee members and ask them to vote “NO” on SB 266.
House: (317) 232-9600
Chairman: Rep. Robert Behning
Vice Chair: Rep. Anthony Cook
Majority Members: Rep. Woody Burton, Rep. Edward Clere, Rep. Dale DeVon, Rep. Chuck Goodrich, Rep. Jack Jordon, and Rep. Jim Lucas
Minority Members: Rep. Vernon Smith, Rep. Edward DeLaney, Rep. Shelia Klinker, and Rep. Tonya Pfaff

International Compulsory Attendance Age

By: Alison Slatter and Bridgette Whitlow-Spurlock

This year, the Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction has vocally led the charge to lower the compulsory attendance in the state of Indiana. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) published a nice, full-color, eight-page handout laying out the arguments including a list of all 50 States’ compulsory attendance ages. This was to highlight how “backward” Indiana’s seven-year-old compulsory age is in comparison to the rest of America. Indiana is not alone. There are twelve other states who have chosen the same or older age.

Considering the fact the United States regularly tests squarely in the middle of the International PISA exam results, is it wise to look to ourselves for education models? Does the IDOE publication use the right yardstick with which to measure our state? Perhaps it might be better to look at the top scorers of the international PISA test to judge the wisdom of a compulsory attendance age of 7 years old.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) does not follow the pattern of most exams. This test is designed to identify critical thinking, problem-solving and communications skills, not academic exercises that test memorization, teachers or curricula performance. On the PISA test, one must know how to manipulate the knowledge in their heads, not just spit out information. For example, questions regarding monetary matters require students to devise their own monetary system from which to arrive at the answer.  It is not enough to know how their country’s money system works. They must be able to mentally re-create a monetary system demonstrating a thorough knowledge of how money works in math and in society. Amanda Ripley does an excellent job walking through the PISA exam in her book, “The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They Got That Way”.

So, when do the “smartest kids in the world” start school? Finland, whose educational reform has recently gained renown, scored in the top ten of the PISA science and reading exam and has a compulsory attendance of age seven. Our northern neighbors, Canada, have compulsory attendance beginning at six or seven years, depending on the province. Singapore scored first on all three PISA tests (reading, science, and math) and has a compulsory attendance age of six.  Japan also ranked on all three exams and also boasts an age six start. The small eastern European country of Estonia made the list on all three exams with a seven-year-old beginning to formal education. Hong Kong children can start as young as three to six years in Kindergarten, but primary school does not begin until seven years of age.

The countries listed above have all been recognized, for many years, by academic excellence, yet none of them start primary school at age 5. Also note, the countries who scored well come from vastly different cultures and continents. It is hard to believe American children are somehow developmentally different from children in Europe, Asia, and Canada.

More and more studies are beginning to cast shadows onto just how effective lower compulsory attendance is to socio-emotional learning, physical health, college entrance, and graduation. These are all excellent questions to ponder when making sweeping public policy changes on all children, depriving 100% of parents their rights to determine the appropriate age to begin formal education.  While there is no opposition to making education available at earlier ages when ready, there should be vigorous opposition to mandatory early start ages for formal education.

Parents, not the government, remain the best authority on the readiness of their children to start full-day Kindergarten five days a week. Let’s also make sure we are measuring success by those who have proven successful.

Learn More

Social and Cognitive Impact on Children:

Physical Health:

Finland Schools: