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Teach The Children Well

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Much of the session news has been dominated by TOPS, abortion restrictions, and of course the budget. But lawmakers have taken up more mundane concerns too, like what kids are -- or aren’t -- learning in school.

“This bill would just ensure that we continue to teach the critical skill of cursive writing in schools,” Representative Chris Broadwater said of Senator Beth Mizell’s SB 275, as he handled it on the House floor Thrusday. “I’ll be happy to answer any questions.”

House Education chair Nancy Landry had an amendment.

“The School Board Association surveyed their districts and found that 24 of them were not teaching cursive, including some of the largest ones. And so they asked for delay of the effective date for one year.”

On an 88-1 vote, the House agreed to again teaching kids handwriting, starting in the 2017-2018 school year.

Earlier this week, the House considered a curriculum bill by Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges.

“It requires students in grades 4th, 5th and 6th to recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence,” she explained. “As we know, the Declaration of Independence is the foundation of our civil rights and our civil liberties.”

Shreveport representative Barbara Norton objected, confusing Hodges.

“I’m having a hard time believing that you have a problem with the Declaration of Independence,” Hodges stated.

“And I’m having a hard time believing that you want me to teach my grandchildren to repeat something that’s a lie,” Norton responded.

Norton attempted to explain that at the time the Declaration was written, all men were not equal. As African-Americans were slaves, they were considered property, not people.

It was left to Baton Rouge Rep. Patricia Smith  to school Hodges that many African-Americans still view the Declaration as a tool of oppression,

“Are you aware that the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States were used against African Americans?” Smith asked Hodges.

“The Declaration of Independence was used against people of other races?” Hodges asked, disbelievingly.

“Yes, ma’am! In the Southern states in particular, they had to recite those at a poll place, in order for them to vote.”

Hodges reluctantly withdrew the bill from consideration.