New bill would require more transparency from school boards about school curriculum
The Senate Education Committee voted on a new Public School Curriculum Requirements bill sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Fillmore on Thursday. Sen. Fillmore said this bill would require school boards to be more transparent about new curriculum for their school district.
“Education is a partnership, and parents are vital partners in that process,” Fillmore said. “And it is appropriate to have the elected representatives of parents hear from parents through that process.”
To include parents, Sen. Fillmore said this bill would require instructional materials chosen by school boards go through a hearing and recommendation process with parents at the front end, as well as be posted online for at least thirty days before the materials are authorized. Utah Parents United President Nichole Mason said this bill is a win for parents.
“I know that this bill won't solve all transparency problems, but I hope it sets a precedent to at least require that the public and parents be able to see curriculum and programs before they're rolled out,” Mason said.
Sen. Fillmore assured the committee that this bill would only affect school board approved materials rather than interfere with teachers.
“Whether or not this bill passes will have no impact on what a teacher can or cannot do in selecting their own material for their own classroom,” Fillmore said.
But not everyone, like Utah American Federation of Teachers President Brad Asay, agreed.
“We've heard from teachers. The message has been loud and clear. They've had enough,” Asay said. “Teachers are done being in the center of political issues.”
The bill did pass in the committee with a vote of four to two.