Many chalked up the state Senate’s score based in the aftermath of one bill: SB 451.
That was the 130-page comprehensive education reform package tabled indefinitely in the House after resulting in a strike, divisive strategy for passage and a lot of hard feelings.
However, if you graded the Senate’s efforts to improve education solely on that bill you need to go to the blackboard and write: SB 238, SB 154 and SB 267, at least 300 times.
Those three bill, all related to public education, deserve everyone’s support and incline us to think this session was not really the loss it looked to be on education.
First, SB 267, which requires the state Board of Education to adopt policies prior to the 2020-’21 school year detailing levels of computer science instruction in public schools.
True, that bill might appear to be a little late seeing that digital technology has been a thing for 25 years. Yet, such policies will not only ensure everyone understands the basic concepts of computer science, but keep them up to date on new developments.
This bill was signed weeks ago by the governor and received bipartisan support throughout the legislative process.
Another bill, SB 238, which is unrelated to the classroom, but picks up on transportation to and from it, is vital to student safety.
It doubles about every penalty there is for passing a stopped school bus whose warning lights are flashing — fines, driver’s license suspension and maximum jail time. The legislation also requires exterior cameras on the front and back of all county school buses bought after July 1.
This bill also won widespread support with one nay vote out of 125 in support of it.
Finally, there’s SB 154, which some will say has nothing to do with education, only school facilities.
That’s true, in a sense. Under the bill, county boards of education can allow school facilities to be used for a funeral or memorial service for a military member or first responder.
The impetus for this bill is that small funeral homes, houses of worship and such, especially in rural areas, often cannot accommodate services where hundreds of people want to attend.
However, this bill has an educational component, too. It raises public awareness about those who put themselves in harm’s way to serve us.
County boards will set up a process to handle such requests.
We applaud the Senate for being the chamber of origin for each of these three bills.
Now, if it could just erase our memory of SB 451.