School Board Resources

The ongoing discussions about public school education continues to be divisive and difficult. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) provides these model school board policies as an addition and alternative to the limited options that school boards have access to. WILL offers these model policies with goals of increasing parents’ rights and involvement, creating transparency, optimizing student academic achievement and improving school governance.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

PROPOSED RULES ON TITLE IX

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 – U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROPOSED RULES ARE NOT YET IN EFFECT

While the proposed rules on Title IX have recieved a lot of media coverage, it is important for school districts to understand that these proposed rules are not in effect and are not law. 

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WILL’s Comment to the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROPOSED RULES

WILL submitted a public comment on the U.S. Department of Education proposed changes to the regulations on Title IX.

MODEL SCHOOL BOARD POLICIES

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Right to Review Instructional Materials and Related Documents

This model policy creates a process for parents to review instructional materials that their child has access via the school district.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Transparency

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Right to Review Professional Development Training Materials

This model policy clarifies that parents have the right to access, upon request, all District training materials used for professional development.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Transparency

 

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Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

This model policy confirms that parents and legal guardians have the ultimate responsibility for their children and recommends activities to be implemented to encourage cooperation between parents and the school. It also encourages engagement between the District and the community.

KEYWORDS: Governance, Parents Rights

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Controversial Issues

This model policy defines what is considered to be a “controversial issue” in an instructional program, discusses the acceptable context for discussing controversial issues, expands on student rights currently established by federal law, and encourages parents to continue to direct the upbringing of their children, in accordance with the United States Constitution.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Transparency

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Survey Notice and Opt Out

This model policy prohibits students from being required to participate in surveys or evaluations that reveal certain information without prior written parental consent. For surveys that would require such information but are not mandated, it requires parental notice and the opportunity to opt their child out of participating.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Transparency

 

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Student Gender Identity

This model policy states that parents have the right to determine the names and pronouns used for their child while at school. It requires the District to notify a parent if a student wishes to changes the name and/or pronoun by which the student is referred to during school hours. It prohibits the district from diagnosing or treating gender dysphoria.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights

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Employee Expression in Non-School Settings

This model policy acknowledges the right of its professional staff members to speak out on issues of public concern in non-school settings and sets forth limited occasions in which the statements of its employees may result in adverse action by the District.

KEYWORDS: Governance, Transparency

 

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Review and Update of District Policies

This model policy requires the School Board to conduct a yearly review and upate of District policies. The Superintendent is required to suggest any changes which the Superintendent believes appropriate.

KEYWORD: Governance

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Assessment of Educational Goals

This model policy requires that the Board provide parental notice of the student academic standards adopted by the District and requires that the Board include as an agenda item, at least once every two months, an assessment of student achievement in relation to the applicable academic standards, with a priority given to English language arts and math. If academic standards are not being met, the Board is directed to take appropriate action in an effort to meet those standards.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Wisconsin

 

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Student Discipline

This model policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and other categories, in the context of discipline. It tasks the School Board with specifying what (in accordance with Wisconsin law) is punishable behavior and it sets forth alternatives to out-of-school suspension.

KEYWORDS: Parents Rights, Transparency, Wisconsin

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Board Superintendent Communications

This model policy is intended to establish an effective relationship between the Superintendent and School Board. It sets forth the manner and circumstances in which the Superintendent is required to provide information to the School Board, and it describes how the School Board is to communicate with the Superintendent.

KEYWORDS: Governance, Wisconsin

 

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Access to Student Records

This model policy requires the District to collect and retain certain information about students and provides a policy for confidentiality of student records. It requires the District to provide copies of educational records to parents upon request, and it provides a process for requesting that a school correct records which parents/students believe to be inaccurate or misleading.

KEYWORDS: Parent Rights, Wisconsin

 

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Human Growth and Development

This model policy allows the School Board to determine whether the District will provide instruction in human growth and development, indicates what must be included in such a program, and requires any instruction in such a program to be age-appropriate. It also requires the District to provide parental notice related to what human growth and development instruction will be used in the grade level of their child, permits parental inspection of instructional materials, and requires notice to parents that they may opt their child out such instruction.

KEYWORDS: Parent Rights, Transparency, Wisconsin

 

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Personnel Evaluation and Training

This model policy establishes that it is the responsibility of the Superintendent to implement a program for personnel assessment, and it provides details for an annual evaluation program for professional staff members. It also makes clear that professional staff members shall be provided access, upon request, to any supervisory reports and other documents to be placed in their personnel files.

KEYWORDS: Governance, Transparency, Wisconsin

 

AEI | EMPOWER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WITH POLICY SOLUTIONS

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). Sobic highlights a number of the model school board policies WILL released in June 2022, part of the Restoring American Education initiative.

ADDITIONAL SCHOOL BOARD RESOURCES

Below are some additional publicly available school board resources from other organizations. Please contact us with suggestions for new sources, or if any of these links no longer work.

Civics Alliance

A compilation of general school board resources.

FreedomWorks

An organization building a grassroots movement of school board members.

Contact Zach Laba, BEST Outreach Coordinator at zlaba@freedomworks.org for more information.

Independence Institute

Colorado-based organization that creates materials for local school board candidates and elected officials.

Arizona Coalition of School Board Members

An Arizona-based membership organization for school board members and interested community members offering alternative resources that promotes student success and parental rights.

School board member finance training

Delivered by Edunomics Lab at Georgetown, four virtual sessions, 2-hours each, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM CT starting September 16, 2022:

Today’s financial choices are complicated. Districts are flush with cash, inflation is eroding wages, enrollment is down and under-enrolled schools are costly. And yet, districts must stay focused on getting students back on track. To helping make sense of it all, Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University is offering a finance workshop just for school board members. Scholarships are available so apply early for those.

School board leaders who go through our training sessions learn to engage more on financial matters and to communicate in ways that build trust on spending decisions affecting students. We think practical, strategic financial skills will be particularly useful in the coming months, so please share this with school board members who would benefit from the opportunity. Send any questions to Jordan.Tollefson@georgetown.com.

Goldwater Institute

Learn more about their effort for academic transparency, including a district-level model policy.

For More Information

LIBBY SOBIC

Libby Sobic

Director of Education Policy

libby@will-law.org

Cory Brewer

Cory Brewer

Associate Counsel

cbrewer@will-law.org

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