Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Editorial: This bill is unfair to parents and educators

SB257 imposes on volunteers

First Published Mar 25 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 25 2014 01:01 am

It seems that Sen. Howard Stephenson would rather have just about anybody doing the business of education other than Utah’s professional educators.

In his bill SB257, which was hurried through the Legislature all too fast at the end of the just-completed session, Stephenson would impose a lot more work on a group of 15 parents who generously volunteered to review 10,000 test questions last year to allay fears of some that standardized tests have a liberal bent.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

They didn’t find any questions like that, but they spent hundreds of hours on the mostly useless quest. Now Stephenson wants the same group to take on a much larger and broader review of complaints from parents about statewide curriculum and materials.

The Utah State Board of Education and at least some of the test-review committee members are rightly asking Gov. Gary Herbert to veto Stephenson’s overreaching bill. We agree that it should not become law.

Some members of the test-question group are worried, not only that they wouldn’t have time to address complaints coming from throughout the state, but that they are not qualified to act as an "appeal board" for parents who want something changed and have not been satisfied after contacting the school, school board and district. That’s a valid concern.

In the first place, Stephenson neglected to determine whether these volunteers, mostly parents with young children, would be willing to take on the added responsibility. And, at least as important, Stephenson wrongly assumes that educators making decisions about curriculum need constant supervision from non-educators — whether legislators or parents.

Parents who have complaints or concerns about curriculum in their children’s schools already have appropriate channels through which to get answers, starting first with teachers, then principals and on to local school boards and district offices.

We recognize that parents have an important role to play in the education process, and their concerns and ideas should be valued. Local parental committees of willing volunteers set up by school community councils could act as sounding boards and liaisons between parents and school districts.

One thing is certain: Neither parents nor Utah’s professional educators need the Legislature dictating every detail of the process.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.