Kentucky Senate Bill 5 Seeks to Increase Parental Oversight in Education

Kentucky Senate Bill 5 aims to empower parents with increased oversight in education. See how this bill affects parental involvement in a child’s educational journey.

by Ivy Locke

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In case you’ve been living underground and are unaware of the various critiques of the state of the public education system, suffice it to say there are many. Depending on what side of the fence you fall on, you may attribute these mounting issues to anything from a budgeting crisis to hidden political agendas. However, regardless of what caused these issues, it is clear to most educators and parents that the public education system needs to be drastically revamped.

So far, little has been done regarding the widespread deployment of suitable remedies for these issues. Nevertheless, Kentucky seeks to change this with Senate Bill 5 as it could totally change how schools create curriculums and what information is taught to students. Here is a closer look at the details of the bill. 

About Senate Bill 5

A bill that was created to increase parental oversight in public schools, Senate Bill 5 seeks to provide parents with more power to file grievances and intervene when they believe their children are being exposed to inappropriate content. According to CNN, this ‘harmful’ content is defined as materials that “contain the exposure, in an obscene manner, of the unclothed or apparently unclothed human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks or the female breast, or visual depictions of sexual acts or simulations of sexual acts, or explicit written descriptions of sexual acts.” 

Personally, as a mom who homeschools her child, I’m all for it! However, personal politics aside, all parents should be able to provide input and even veto specific topics and subject matters from being taught to their children. Regardless of the perceived benefits of any given content, unless it involves core subjects and pertinent information that is universally vital, parents should have the right to decide if certain topics are inappropriate for their children. 

Although parents with children in public schools are not paying directly, most are paying the taxes that are used to fund these institutions. Therefore, much like private schools, parents should have a say-so regarding what their students are being taught and exposed to. So, parents who want their children exposed to certain types of material can enroll them in those classes, and those who don’t can choose something more appropriate for their children. Also, with homeschool rates at an all-time high, allowing parents to have more input may actually serve to save the public school system as a whole. 

The Danger of Eliminating Choice

At the end of the day, parents should always have a role in deciding their children’s curriculums. However, ignoring parental concerns is a slippery slope that could further erode the American public education sector. Personally, I am not saying that specific topics should never be taught to students in public schools. 

However, if parents have concerns about certain subjects and materials, they should be able to choose alternative classes and materials for their own children. 

This is especially true given the fact that America is still ranked 14th on the global scale of public education systems; it’s clear that we have not been as effective in teaching our children as is claimed, and unless something changes soon, it seems that these numbers may one day hit a freefall. 

Moreover, assuming that schools are not truly supposed to be the primary caregivers of students, overlooking parental concerns could lead to an authoritarian school system that may undermine the ability of good parents to instill specific values in their children. In an age in which America is becoming progressively more lawless and less educated, that is the last thing we need. 

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