On Friday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that establishes term limits for school board members and allows the public increased access to instructional materials.
"We believe parents not only have a role, they have the fundamental role to be involved in the education of their kids, and that's how it's going to be in the state of Florida," DeSantis said before signing HB-1467.
The bill places 12-year consecutive term limits for school board members.
It also "requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials," DeSantis' office wrote in a press release.
It requires school districts that are holding meetings to discuss selecting instructional materials to open these meetings up to the public and requires these districts to provide access to all materials at least 20 days prior to the board taking action on these materials.
"The Department of Education (DOE) will be required to publish a list of materials that have been removed or discontinued by school boards as a result of an objection and disseminate the list to school districts for their consideration," DeSantis office stated.
"School district library media center materials and assigned school or grade-level reading lists must also be reviewed by a district employee holding a valid educational media specialist certificate and require DOE to develop an online training program for librarians and media specialists. The superintendent of schools in each district must certify to the DOE Commissioner that all school librarians and media center specialists have taken this training," the office added.
It sets up a petition system where parents can file complaints and concerns regarding the content in instructional materials. 'The parent or resident must file a petition, on a form provided by the school board, within 30 calendar days after the adoption of the instructional material by the school board."
"Within 30 days after the 30-day period has expired, the school board must, for all petitions timely received, conduct at least one open public hearing before an unbiased and qualified hearing officer. The hearing officer may not be an employee or agent of the school district. The hearing is not subject to the provisions of chapter 120; however, the hearing must provide sufficient procedural protections to allow each petitioner an adequate and fair opportunity to be heard and present evidence to the hearing officer," the bill states.
"In Florida, our parents have every right to be involved in their child’s education. We are not going to let politicians deny parents the right to know what is being taught in our schools. I’m proud to sign this legislation that ensures curriculum transparency," said DeSantis.
The bill will take effect on July 1, 2022.
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