Washington State Legislature Takes Aim at Local School Control

By Eileen Griffin, contributing editor at Heartland Daily News |Education Reform New | Feb. 22, 2024

The Washington State Legislature is advancing two bills that would impose curricula mandates on public schools.

The legislation would allow the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to mandate what materials schools are allowed to use, regardless of local decisions, The Center Square reports.

House Bill 2331 would give the state total power over educational materials. If a school chooses to use something the Superintendent does not like, he has the authority to withhold state funding from that school.

Sen. Jim McCune (R-Graham) also spoke against the bill at the same hearing.

“This bill actually will start to force parents to leave schools,” McCune said. “It is a very controversial bill. This bill takes away local control and forces school boards—this will take away parents’ rights.”

McCune said the mandated teaching will encourage racism and further divide communities when schools should focus on academics.

“These liberal progressive policies will continue to sacrifice academics in our state for the political agendas,” said McCune. “We already know we have a failing school system and we need to work on these academics to bring them up.”

“Since 2019 the state legislature has passed laws encouraging school districts to teach the false and divisive Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in public schools,” Liv Finne, the director of the Center for Education wrote in a blog post. “Many local schools object to adopting textbooks and materials that promote harmful ideas to children.”

Both SB 5462 and HB 2331 will encourage the teaching of leftist ideology regardless of the preferences of local school boards, teachers, and parents, say critics. Locally elected school boards will be replaced with centralized, bureaucratic control over decisions affecting children and parents across the state.

Click here to read the full report.