GOP lawmakers in Kansas want to make it possible for parents who disagree with what is taught in public schools regarding gender identity and sexual orientation to pay for private or home education with state funds.
In contrast to Florida’s contentious “Don’t Say Gay” law, which forbids the inclusion of LGBTQ+ teachings in early primary education, the proposal, which is scheduled to be made available online on Tuesday, would allow parents to have their children removed from schools if they have concerns about what is taught about sexuality.
Critics also point out that funding for private and home schools would be diverted from the much-needed public schools.
The bill’s sponsor in the House, Rep. Kristey Williams, expressed the intention to start hearings as soon as next week.
The Republican legislator, who chairs the K-12 budget committee, claimed that her proposal is “the right answer” for parents who object to what their children are taught about racism or LGBTQ problems.
In Kansas, parents can only transfer their children to a new school provided they have the extra funds to cover the fees.
However, according to Williams, the freedom to select the most significant and appropriate setting and form of education is provided through choice.
Ann Mah, a Kansas State Board of Education member, is one of the opponents who claim that “school choice” is not the most excellent choice for students in the state.
Strong public schools are what Kansas parents desire, Mah told KSNT News on Sunday.
Earlier this month, Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson declared that the state Republican party intended to increase its focus on LGBTQ issues, including proposals to outlaw care for transgender children that is gender-affirming and limitations on what can be taught about gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools.
Masterson described the GOP initiative as a means of combating “the sexualized, woke agenda” in public schools.
Later, it seemed he was speaking more gently when he told The Associated Press on Monday that he was discussing “educational choice.”
He said that having options for parents is perhaps the only way to handle it properly in the end.
The idea from Kansas comes as other states throughout the nation debate similar laws.
A bill allowing parents of students who want to attend a public school to use state tax dollars to “select the education environment most suited to their child” was signed into law last week by Utah’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds.
The measure, passed amid Democratic opposition was criticized for possibly reducing financing for public schools.
The newest episode of Inside Kansas Politics is out! The school choice debate is heating up in the Kansas Legislature. @DeneyshaRichard sits down with @sentymasterson and local advocates debate about school choice. #ksleg #SchoolChoice #KSNThttps://t.co/HvlawHEOog
— Inside Kansas Politics (@InKSPolitics) January 30, 2023