August 11, 2017 Radio Commentary

Parent Power Resurfacing

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, August 11, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

It was over a year ago on January 14, 2016 when Representative Kevin Tanner and five other representatives introduced H.B. 739 that passed, overwhelmingly, with only three representatives and eight senators voting against it.  The governor signed it into law on May 3rd of last year, but nothing changed in 2016, because H.B. 739 allowed a year for educators to get ready to put it in place.  So, several things became effective July 1st of this year.

First: The State Board of Education is no longer required to appoint a committee to examine school curriculum, although board members may choose to do so.

With that change, the power to review and approve curriculum content and supplementary material shifted from the state to the local level, where local boards of education must provide an opportunity for public comment and parental input before any instructional material is adopted.

No. 2: The local school board must post in a prominent place on its website and make available for public review a list of proposed instructional material, complete with version or edition or ID number, plus any required State guidelines and the course number where the material will be used.No 3: Upon request local school boards must make available on-site review of all locally approved instructional material, including content and supplemental material.  On-site review hours will be set by the local school board.

No. 4: Local school boards must designate an employee to be the contact person who coordinates compliance with this law and answers questions about the review process.

No. 5: Each local school system and each school that has a website must prominently post on its website a list of locally approved instructional material and supplementary material that is approved and used by the school system.  The list must include the version or edition number, the state funded course number where the material will be used, and any required ID number.

Under this new law, parents and other residents will have renewed authority to influence or control education in their communities, while the State Board of Education is free to provide guidelines in certain instances.

If local parents carefully review the content of curricula and supplemental material, education could be greatly improved.  If you want to be part of this process, contact members of your local board of education.  For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.