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K-12 curriculum bill passes House, heads to Senate

Posted at 1:48 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 15:48:59-05

BOISE, Idaho — A bill that seeks to bring parents to the forefront of school curriculum decisions is headed to the Senate after passing the House Monday.

As we've reported, the bill would mandate school districts create a 12-person curriculum adoption committee anytime educational materials are changed. Currently, Idaho Code does not require districts to form a committee or specify how many people should be involved.

Of the 12 members, Boyle's legislation would require parents to fill six seats.

Republican Rep. Gary Marshall from Idaho Falls, a former educator, feared it wouldn't be the best option to encourage parent involvement. While he agreed the adoption process should, and generally is, open to the public, Marshall said parents could "fade out" and get "overwhelmed" by drawn-out committees.

"I think the language is too restrictive and will cause some unintended consequences for large and small school districts," he said. "I think we need to see if we can come up with something that would do what we want it to do — encourage parents to be involved in the process."

However, Boyle and several lawmakers felt the legislation is a step in solving parents' concerns about the K-12 curriculum — which the bill sponsor said is an issue in both the Gem State and nationwide.

"We've seen across the United States the last couple years that parents are very concerned about what their children are learning and what the curriculum is," Boyle said. "The parents that I've been involved with are extremely concerned. So, this is to try and calm things down in the school districts and make everyone feel that they are involved."

According to the State Department of Education, the agency adopts new curricula every six years, but local districts can change instructional materials independently between reviews.

This year, state superintendent of public instruction Sherri Ybarra requested $10.3 million in state funding to pay for content and curriculum.