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Sandra Yi ReportingA group of parents and students are speaking out against a controversial new education reform bill signed into law a few months ago. About a hundred of them rallied at the capitol steps this morning.
People at the rally fear elective courses will soon take a backseat to academics. They don't want to see things like music, arts and sports go. A new education policy - has protesters
Jake Christofferson: "We want our sports and music.”
Michelle Lindsey/Performing Arts Student: "People who take drama and choir and things are people who can speak their minds. They are people who will be our future leaders."
Senate Bill 154, the so-called education omnibus bill, was signed into law in March. It calls for competency-based education in core academic areas like English and math. But it strikes a sour note with parents and students who fear new graduation requirements will squeeze kids out of elective courses like music and art. The effects, they say, would be devastating.
Bonnie Moore/Parent: "Then when students are taking more required classes, the number of students in the elective classes will go down and when it gets so low, the class won't have enough students to run the class."
They rallied today on the capitol steps with song and spirit.
Jake Christofferson/Hunter High School Student: "I'm in the marching band for Kennedy Junior High and it just helps us through everything. It makes us smarter and we love to play."
Bonnie Moore/Parent: "It helps them think quick; it helps them be alert and be receptive and proactive and those are things they just can't learn reading a book and doing book work."
Legislators agree electives are important. Still, they hope a competency-based education will improve the quality of education for kids.
Sen. Bill Wright/Chair, Senate Education Committee: "The opportunities are still there. No opportunities have been denied. I think it enhances people's opportunities to get a full education."
Parents passed out a petition that calls for lawmakers to amend senate bill 154 to include language that protects elective programs. The petition also asks that lawmakers take out the new high school graduation requirements so students can decide which classes best meet their needs.