Committee passes the 'teachers can teach' bill, Bible bill

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Senate Standing Committee on Education heard testimony on several bills on Thursday at the Capitol.

The committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 1, dubbed the "teachers can teach" bill. The bill would shift more control to local districts and eventually repeal common core standards in schools.

The bill's writers worked closely with the Kentucky Education Association and State Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt to make changes to the bill. The new edition removed wording that would have let students meet the arts high school graduation requirement with a foreign language, career and technical education, or computer technology or programming course.

The bill also creates a staggered review process for Kentucky's education standards and assessments.

The committee also passed Senate Bill 159, which would require students to pass a civics test prior to graduation. Students would have to answer the same 100 questions any immigrant has to answer to gain citizenship. The committee passed the bill under consent.

The committee also heard testimony on Senate Bill 138, which would require schools to offer an elective social studies course on the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

"This doesn't teach the Bible. It is an elective social studies course that teaches about the Bible," Senator Robin Webb said.

Kate Miller with the American Civil Liberties Union testified against the bill. If the bill passes the full Senate, the ACLU says it will make sure parents and students know their rights under the U.S. Constitution.

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