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La. lawmaker wants BESE to be responsible for deciding if life skills should be taught in classroom

1 month 4 weeks 18 hours ago Thursday, March 28 2024 Mar 28, 2024 March 28, 2024 5:44 PM March 28, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A bill in the regular legislative session aims to lessen the load on teachers, but some worry about the impact it may have on school curriculums.

House Bill 320 by State Rep. Charles Owen, would transfer the responsibility of deciding if certain life skills are appropriate for the classroom, or are best learned at home. Right now, Louisiana law mandates education on certain topics like CPR training, organ donation and parenthood should be offered in public schools across the state. 

"They have to do all these things that are non-academic. That have nothing to do with math, science, English, social studies. The core functions of school and they're going, we don't have time to teach," Rep. Owen said.

Rep. Owen believes parents should be responsible for teaching their children about these life skills. When asked about students that do not have good home lives, he responded that he trusts BESE will make the right decisions about the curriculum.

"Learning about organ donation, suicide prevention, eating disorders... those things are very important. I think primarily that they are family responsibilities but I want the professional educators to decide," Rep. Owen said. 

The original bill included cursive writing as one of the topics listed to transfer to BESE. In an updated version, he reversed his stance and said cursive writing is something that should be mandated by law.

However, education on CPR training is still on the list of potential topics that could be rid of in schools if the decision is left to BESE. Brad Harris with EBR Parish EMS says he hopes, if it comes to it, the board will continue to require schools teach it. 

"Hopefully the lawmakers will decide this is something that needs to be continued to be educated to our students," Harris said. 

Ronnie Morris, BESE president, told WBRZ the board supports this bill. 

House Bill 320 goes to a senate committee in the coming weeks. 

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