Rep. Ben Koppelman: Champion of Parental Rights in Education

Unlike some folks in the State Capitol, Rep. Ben Koppelman (R – District 16) is a fearless advocate for parents. Popularity is not his objective. Doing what he feels is right is. And he has demonstrated that this legislative session on behalf of parents when it comes to their rights to have the final say over their children’s education.

The most notable defeat that Koppelman endured this session was on his bill to end the Common Core State Standards in North Dakota (HB 1432). The atrocious House Education Committee, followed by the majority of the House themselves, stuck with the lying statist’s – Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta – and kept the Common Core State Standards.

Yesterday, Rep. Koppelman took to the House floor to once again battle a Do Not Pass recommendation from the House Education Committee. This time Koppelman rose to debate HB 1389, which would allow parents "to opt a child of the parent out of any survey or testing that is not a part of a curriculum, to which the parent has a philosophical, moral, or religious objection."

House Education Committee member, Rep. Denton Zubke (R – District 39) carried the bill to the floor and explained the committee’s recommendation. Rep. Zubke suggested that with the new federal legislation called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that this bill was not necessary.

To this, Zubke got an education himself from Koppelman as he read the actual wording from the ESSA that proved HB 1389 isn’t only a good idea, it’s a necessity, because the North Dakota State Century Code specifies that the state superintendent "shall administer" state testing to districts throughout the state. This led school districts across the state to refuse opt out requests from parents. Why? Because there is no opt out language, only the "shall administer" language.

Koppelman then reminded his colleagues that last session they killed an opt out bill with the idea it would be taken up again this session. HB 1389 was that opportunity.

Perhaps the best remarks from Rep. Koppelman was his final statement in which he asked the House to "send a message to parents that we do believe that they have at least some little right to have a say in how their children are educated in our public schools." And isn’t that the ultimate issue at hand in bills such as this? Who has the ultimate say over a child’s education? The state or the parent? The vote was taken and HB 1389 prevailed with a 54-38 majority. Score one for the parents.

On behalf of parents across the state of North Dakota, thank you Rep. Ben Koppelman for being a champion of parental rights in education.

(Editorial Note: HB 1389 will now go to the Senate for consideration. Please contact your reps and encourage them to vote for this bill.)


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About T. Arthur Mason 876 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.