East Wenatchee Senator Brad Hawkins is pushing an amendment that “allows” rather than “requires” school districts to adopt state-developed inclusive curriculum.

The 12th District senator is at odds with a proposed bill that requires school districts to adopt inclusive instructional materials that include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of historically marginalized and underrepresented groups including LGBTQ.

"I think passing a bill that encourages school districts to consider inclusive curriculum could be a very good thing. But this bill, in my opinion, crosses the line by mandating adoption on all 295 school districts in the state." Hawkins said.

Sponsors of the bill say promoting inclusive learning standards and instructional materials will improve student achievement, attendance, parent and family engagement, and other dimensions that contribute to student success.

But Senator Hawkins says the basis of the school governance system for several decades is to allow communities to make decisions that are in their best interest.

"School districts are overseen by their appointed superintendents and their elected school board members," Hawkins said. "And I think the state should trust the locally elected school boards to make the decisions on financing and curriculum for what's in the best interest of their individual communities."

However, sponsors of the bill say it's state law to require learning standards to be periodically updated to incorporate best practices in ethnic studies. They believe it's the state's duty to review and update state learning studies to include inclusive curriculum.

The bill is still in the committee phase. Senator Hawkins says he's looking forward to making his case when the bill reaches the senate floor.

You can read his amendment here.

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