KASB’s Daily Education Roundup, Thur. Feb. 21Scott Rothschild
A bill aimed at establishing financial literacy classes in high school failed to get out of the House Education Committee on Thursday.
The committee also held a hearing on HB 2288, creating the Kansas student and educator freedom of religious act and the full House advanced SB 9, which is a $115 million payment to the school group of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
Numerous bills were moving as key deadlines neared. Monday is the last day for committees to meet in each chamber prior to Turnaround. The House and Senate will conduct floor action Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is Turnaround Day, when all bills from non-exempt committees must be forwarded by their chamber of origin.
HB 2166 would have required personal finance literacy courses for high school graduation. KASB opposed this measure, saying it is the duty of local school boards and the State Board of Education to make decisions on curriculum.
The committee adopted an amendment that would have removed the requirement of financial literacy and allowed districts to offer the course as a substitute for one-half of a math credit. But when the final committee vote came up on the bill, it failed on a 5-10 vote. Some questioned whether financial literacy was a proper substitute for a math course and some said they felt the bill still intruded on the responsibilities of the State Board of Education.
Earlier, the committee held a hearing on HB 2288. KASB, KNEA and the Mainstream Coalition opposed the measure. Here is KASB’s testimony. The bill was brought by state Rep. Renee Erickson, R-Wichita, and also supported by the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.
Erickson, a former teacher and administrator, said she had personal experience where she felt her religious rights were infringed upon in the public school setting. Brittany Jones, director of advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, said the bill was needed to protect religious freedoms from challenges from outside groups.
But state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said he believed current federal and state law and court rulings adequately protected protected religious rights. Some members also said they feared the legislation could result in more court challenges.