WILL Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, is the author of Empower School Board Members With Policy Solutions, a new publication from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The rising tide of parent engagement and activism requires policy thinkers to turn their attention to the local level where school boards can debate and pass reforms that directly impact the classroom and address controversies around curriculum transparency and parental notification.
Sobic highlights a number of the model school board policies WILL released in June 2022, part of the Restoring American Education initiative.
- The Right to Review Instructional Materials and Related Documents:With so much of the friction between schools and parents deriving from a lack of transparency, school boards should adopt language that makes clear “The District values and encourages transparency between parents and the school, and therefore the District shall make every effort to be as transparent as possible.” Parents deserve access to instructional materials and school district employees should know that material must be made available.
- Controversial Issues in the Classroom: With examples of controversial subject matter appearing the classrooms, debates have raged over age-appropriateness and parental notification. This policy requires parental notice and the opportunity to opt-out before controversial issues are discussed in the classroom.
- Parental Notification and Consent on Matters of Student Gender Identity:Parents have an inherent right to direct the education of their child. With controversies swirling around student gender identity, school boards should adopt a presumption that parents have the right to determine the name and gender pronouns of their child. School administrators and teachers should not be diagnosing or treating students for gender dysphoria, and district staff may inform parents about a social transition occurring at school.
Education is fundamentally a local issue. Communities will debate and deliberate the policies that best suit them. But for parents and activists taking on new roles with school boards, the institutions that develop policy at the state and national level must be responsive to the concerns and issues occurring in local school districts.
- Empower School Board Members With Policy Solutions, American Enterprise Institute, August 2022
- WILL Model School Board Policies.
- Restoring American Education.