HB 2346, regarding standards for school-administered vision screenings, is on the agenda for the Senate Education committee meeting today.
HB 2346 is an example of state accreditation creep.
In summary …
This bill expands the purview of local public schools beyond kids enrolled, assuming an oversight of all kids within its geographic boundaries.
This bill further expands the heavy hand of state accreditation.
This bill further expands the mission of schools well beyond academics.
This bill expands the data amassed under the “education” umbrella to include medical data.
This bill does not explicitly provide the protections that apply to medical data.
This bill places a medical service under the authority and purview of the state education board and departments.
This bill places parents in more of a subordinate position; having schools complying with government requirements more responsible for implementation, amassing data, and monitoring.
This bill diminishes parent authority.
Many people will say schools have always been doing vision and hearing screenings. Why is this a big deal?
We submit that parents are not fully aware of the impacts of this “free” screening regarding the subjugation of their fundamental rights and authority for their own children, the impacts of the data being amassed on their children, and the lack of privacy protections. This bill also progressively expands the mission and purview of government education into the medical arena. Many would argue that the unrelenting expansion of information available to the government on citizens is continuing down a dangerous course. As well, the consolidation of information from the education, medical, social, and labor areas for all practical purposes results in a government dossier on individual citizens.
This bill would expand state accreditation parameters to place more state programming in nonpublic schools and affect kids in nonpublic schools. It further expands the mission of education into the medical area. This is in keeping with decades-long goals to establish schools as the centers of communities, providing all manner of social services, physical and mental “health” services, fitting in some academics where possible.
When a parent engages the services of a medical professional to provide vision services, that appointment is protected by HIPPA and at the direction of the parent. This bill does not appear to provide the same HIPPA protections.
Based on the reading of this bill, the education institution is the main engager of the services of a vision screener, who is only required to notify the parent in the event of a referral to an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Not only is the school the main initiator of this for the child, rather than the parent, but the data regarding this is all held within education systems.
As well, yet another state level commission would be established within the State Board of Education to monitor the implementation of this act. Again, all of this bill falls under education and not health. Additionally, it establishes yet another state system to collect data on citizens. Schools will at a minimum be collecting information at the individual level. The bill does not specify any restrictions on access to this individual information, nor does it specify whether data reported will be at the individual level.
The cost of this requirement is to be born either by the nonpublic school or local board of the district where a nonpublic school student resides.
These things are not characteristics of America. They are, however, characteristics of other governments not established to ensure maximum individual privacy and freedom.
PLEASE, contact the following Senate Education Committee members and ask them to VOTE AGAINST HB2346.
Sen. Molly Baumgardner Phone: 785-296-7368 Email: Molly.Baumgardner@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Larry Alley Phone: 785-296-7381 Email: Larry.Alley@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Kevin Braun Phone: 785-296-7357 Email: Kevin.Braun@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Bud Estes Phone: 785-296-7359 Email: Bud.Estes@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Bruce Givens Phone: 785-296-7678 Email: Bruce.Givens@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Dennis Pyle Phone: 785-296-7379 Email: Dennis.Pyle@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Eric Rucker Phone: 785-296-7374 Email: Eric.Rucker@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Mary Jo Taylor Phone: 785-296-7667 Email: MaryJo.Taylor@senate.ks.gov
Sen. Mike Thompson Phone: 785-296-7362 Email: Mike.Thompson@senate.ks.gov