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UEA voices opposition to education bills requiring curriculum to be posted online

Jan 27, 2022, 7:58 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:53 pm
Heidi Matthews (KSL TV)...
Heidi Matthews (KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY— The state’s largest teachers’ union is voicing opposition to two education bills that would require curriculum to be posted online for parents to review.

The Utah Education Association says that while SB114 and HB234 are different, they both create a feeling of mistrust and are unnecessary.

 

On Thursday afternoon, the Senate Education Committee gave a favorable recommendation to SB114. The bill would require districts to make instructional material available online and hold a public hearing.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, made it clear that the proposed legislation only applies to district-wide material.

“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.

During the committee hearing, several members of the group Utah Parents United spoke in favor of the bill.

“As constituents and taxpayers we support SB 114 and believe that transparency in curriculum is important,” the group said in a letter to committee members. “We appreciate the effort of this bill to involve parents in the curriculum adoption process and ensure that districts make this information available to all parents.”

UEA president Heidi Matthews said that while she respects the process Sen. Fillmore went through while drafting SB114, the bill is not needed because districts already have an approval process.

“It opens up an extra layer of bureaucracy,” Matthews said. “It opens up an extra layer of complaints and concerns that can be dealt with in a more meaningful way, which is individually with our classrooms and our educators.”

A separate bill is getting stronger pushback from the UEA. HB234 would require classroom-level curriculum and materials be posted online.

An online petition by the UEA in opposition to the bill has gathered more than 17,000 signatures, according the Matthews. The petition asserts that the bill would create more work for teachers.

“This unnecessary legislation shows an utter lack of understanding of instructional design and how teachers work,” reads the introduction to the petition. “It is not a common-sense approach to increasing parental involvement and the responsiveness of public schools.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan said he’s in the process of making changes to the bill to clarify the intent and will introduce a substitute soon.

“I understand that there’s fear out there that it may cause more work but I think in the end that it’s work that’s already being done today for the most part,” Teuscher said.

Teuscher told KSL-TV that his bill addresses the issue of transparency and best practices for teachers so that parents can raise questions before something is taught in the classroom.

“We’re just trying to standardize it across the state so that if you’re in Blanding or in Logan or in Salt Lake City, you get that same expectation that you can go online and see what’s available,” he said.

The bill also allows for limited litigation against a school district in the case of a violation. Teuscher said his intent was to create barriers to frivolous lawsuits.

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UEA voices opposition to education bills requiring curriculum to be posted online