Bill aims to take power to make Nebraska education standards away from state board

It would give power to local school districts

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Sex education standards continue to be a hot topic, and Tuesday the conversation made it to the State Capitol.

Senator Joni Albrecht introduced a bill that would take decision power away from the Nebraska Department of Education by not allowing them to create or distribute education standards without the authority of the legislature.

“By taking people from outside of the department of education, outside of our school systems, and not inviting parents, teachers, administrators into the conversation that is not the way our makeup in the legislature is. If it was that big of a deal, it should have been debated on the floor of the legislature,” said Senator Joni Albrecht.

“It’s a little scary because the State Board of Education is specifically created for this, and the idea that they would never be able to establish health standards is bonkers to me,” said Jamie Gould opposed to the bill.

Even though participation from parents who are in favor of sex education in schools has decreased during the monthly State Board of Education meetings, there is public opposition to this resolution.

“I believe there are 311 letters already in the committee. Of that, I think there are 72 opponents,” said Senator Albrecht.

“We just largely on a big scale, students want comprehensive sex ed,” said Gould.

If passed, Senator Albrecht wants the decisions to be made by each local power.

“We’re going to divert back to local control. The local folks know the type of curriculum that will pass in that particular area of the state,” said Senator Albrecht.

Those opposed are worried students will be missing out.

“School is supposed to be preparing students for the real world, and I can’t imagine anybody would think you don’t need to understand your own health in the real world,” said Gould.

The conversation of sex education standards started last March, but because of the timing, state senators did not have a chance to voice their opinions until now.

“We were right in the middle of a 90-day session, we had already introduced all of our bills, so there is no way that we could have done anything,” said Senator Albrecht.

Earlier this month, the State Board of Education officially voted to oppose this bill.  They worry that it limits the scope of health education and could change other health standards like nutrition and fire safety.

The hearing ran long, not getting started until after 5 pm.  It must make it out of committee before it can be debated by senators.

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