VETO SB 257--Parent Review of Instructional Materials and Curriculum

                                                                                                            March 19, 2014

The Honorable Gary Herbert

Governor, State of Utah

State Capitol

Salt Lake City, Utah 84103

 

Veto Request SB257 Enrolled Bill File

 

RE: SB257 Parent Review of Instructional Materials and Curriculum

Senator Howard Stephenson

 

Dear Governor Herbert,

 

The Utah Parent Teacher Association (PTA), representing public school parents, strongly encourages your veto on SB257 Parent Review of Instructional Materials and Curriculum.  This bill will allow an unelected and  unvetted parent review committee to review complaints on curriculum and instructional materials.

 

Utah PTA has received several phone calls from parents on the committee as well as other concerned parents.

Here are a few of the concerns:

 

The Parent Panel is unelected; the process and criteria for vetting qualifications is unknown.

The State Legislature appears to have employed the Parent Panel whose original scope of responsibility was 40 hours per year to review test questions. In the bill, there are no definitions or guidelines for the responsibilities of the expanded role of the Parent Panel.

A large concern has been raised on GRAMA laws. Will the Parent Panel be subject to GRAMA in using emails via electronic devices?

Confidentiality is another concern especially with students who are provided IEP’s or 504 accommodations; knowledge of curriculum of every school district and all waivers will be required of this committee to effectively deal with complaints.

This Bill undermines the individual process for dealing with curriculum and instructional material concerns at the local level.

 

This legislation was pushed through House in the midnight hour without any House committee hearing taking place, debate was minimal, and the bill passed by 38-37 vote. It is easy to question whether such legislation is wise and reflects the best interest of the People of the State of Utah.

If responsiveness to parents is the intent of this bill, Utah PTA respectfully submits that parents are best served by leaving the public schools and districts responsible to address  concerns and complaints.