Bill Description: Senate Bill 1374 establishes mandatory career exploration courses that students who attend public district or charter schools must take in 8th grade.
Does the bill expand the existing government monopoly on education and shrink family and student choice or agency? (-) Conversely, does the bill expand the ability for families and students to choose the educational options that best meet their needs free of government intervention or coercion? (+)
Senate Bill 1374 requires 8th grade students who attend public district or charter schools to complete at least one “career exploration course,” regardless of parental wishes or consent. Although the course is required, students can choose to substitute it for their middle school health class requirement. Career exploration courses will generally feature in-person instruction, but if this is not possible, the courses may be offered in virtual or hybrid formats. Under Senate Bill 1374, the government education monopoly is further empowered to make educational decisions for students, which limits student choice and agency.
The bill also directs public school officials to craft a career plan for 8th graders “with the assistance of parents.” However, parents are not merely subservient partners with the state. Parents have the unalienable right to direct their children’s education and care. Senate Bill 1374 encroaches on parental rights by allowing the state to assume more authority over a student’s education by mandating career exploration courses. While the goal of preparing students “to become college and career ready and contributing members of society” is admirable, career exploration courses should be optional based on the unique needs and desires of students and their families.