The Utah State School Board passed a rule change last week that would give parents more of a voice in their child’s education.
The Utah State School Board approved a rule change on September 8th that requires schools to provide transparency and public access to a school’s process of curating books and videos.
Parents also can see the process of reviewing complaints about books and other educational materials.
Most Utah districts already established an interface that allowed parents to see materials upon request. After the change, school districts now require all curriculum committees for schools to include at least one parent who has a child at the school and who is “reflective of the school’s community.”
The motion that the Board approved R277-468, Draft 1, passed 13-1. Only one board member opposed the vote and another was absent from the meeting.
The Utah State School Board of Education sent a statement to Fox News Digital saying that “the major reason the rule was amended was to add references to statute found in Utah code 53G-10-103 to ensure that different materials are being reviewed in the context and process that the law requires.”
“The changes that require a district or charter school to include parents that are ‘reflective of the school community’ in all the material selection and complaint review processes and require a school to make these processes transparent and available to the public are in line with the new policies and amendments to existing rule surrounding the review of sensitive materials,” the statement continued. “The Board wants to ensure that districts and charters are following all facets of Utah law, which acknowledges that ‘a student’s parent is the primary person responsible for the education of the student.’”
The Utah State School Board’s passing of the measure comes after concerns over parental involvement in K-12 education were triggered when a state senator proposed a measure to require more teacher transparency. Teachers fought against bill SB114 which would have required them to post classroom materials 30 days in advance.
In more detail, SB114 would have mandated districts to hold a public meeting to review textbooks and other educational media teachers planned to use. Afterward, the school board would vote on whether the materials would be used in the classroom. Utah State School Board established a database for teachers to use materials the school board has already approved.
Although SB114 saw much support from parents, the measure was shot down.
Recently, a southwest Florida school district placed warning labels on over 100 books that related to race or the LGBTQ community, deeming them “unsuitable for students.” The district started adding the labels in February based on a “Porn in Schools Report” issued by a conservative group.
Parents all over the country have been speaking out against coronavirus-related mandates in schools and progressive curriculums that have been associated with critical race theory or gender theory.
The issues prompted parents to rise up to run for school board seats after concerns over educational content during the coronavirus pandemic. Some parents who had little political experience pulled off victories.
A new parents’ rights group in Minnesota called the Minnesota Parents Alliance launched an effort to train and support school board candidates, and get parents involved in their schools and communities.
Minnesota Parents Alliance has hosted trainings for school board candidates across the state, and plans to provide support for new school board members after they are elected.