HARRISBURG- Two bills advancing at the state capitol aim to give parents more control over their children’s education and make school curricula more transparent.
Senate Bills 7 and 340 passed the chamber Wednesday, mostly along party lines.
SB 7 would require parents to sign a form allowing their child to read books deemed as sexually explicit. SB 340 would require teachers to post their syllabus and curriculum online.
Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams and Franklin Counties) is the prime sponsor of both bills. He says they are necessary to empower parents and increase transparency in the education system.
“What’s the harm in that?” Mastriano asked. “Unless there’s something being taught we’re trying to hide.”
Mastriano has compared the current state of education to the Soviet Union, where children were indoctrinated with communist ideology. He says SB 7 and 340 will help to prevent that from happening in Pennsylvania.
Both bills have drawn opposition from the Pennsylvania School Library Association and the Pennsylvania Teachers Association, who argue that they are unnecessary and will stifle academic freedom.
Mastriano has dismissed these concerns, saying that the bills are simply about giving parents more control over their children’s education.
“They’re more interested in control than transparency,” Mastriano said of his critics.
The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.