Yesterday was an important day at the State Capitol in Bismarck. The Senate Education Committee had a hearing on Rep. Ben Koppelman’s (R – District 16) House Bill 1389. If you will recall, this bill proposes to "support the right of a parent to opt a child of the parent out of any survey or testing that is not a part of a curriculum, to which the parent has a philosophical, moral, or religious objection."
Seems like a simple Republican Party concept, right? I mean, after all, this is the party that espouses a platform that claims to recognize parental rights in education. Surely we can count on Republicans in our State Legislature to do the right thing by placing their stamp of approval on Rep. Koppelman’s bill. Can’t we? Unfortunately, this may not be the case.
Why this concept of parental rights and opting out is so difficult for some legislators to understand is mind boggling. Nevertheless, perhaps the most frustrating legislators are those that say one thing to your face and then vote an entirely different way when a bill comes before them.
I know of at least one senator that admitted in a legislative forum recently that he doesn’t put much stock in the results of state testing at all. If you’re not aware of it, North Dakota’s students have not done very well in Math and Reading when it comes to the testing for proficiency. Yet, a source tells me that this same senator is expected to vote against not only HB 1389, but HB 1428 (the homeschool opt out bill) as well.
If a legislator doesn’t put much stock in the results of state testing anyhow, then why would they be opposed to parents opting their children out of the very same testing? I suppose the inconsistency shouldn’t surprise me. At this point, I’ve come to expect nothing less from far too many so-called Republicans.
For these legislators, they would do well to read and apply the final plank to the North Dakota Republican Party Platform, which reads:
"LEGISLATIVE INTEGRITY—Legislators should lead through personal moral integrity, and should consider this Platform responsibly before supporting or opposing legislation."
Until they do this and support parental rights in education, then as far as I’m concerned they’re a bunch of Republicans who do little more than to talk out their backsides. And when they do that, why should we trust them?