Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Reported by SAMUEL MANGOLD-LENETT | March 26, 2022


On Friday, Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law establishing term limits for members of Florida’s school boards and giving Florida residents increased access to educational materials available to students. Prior to singing HB-1467 into law, echoing his longstanding commitment to the rights of parents, DeSantis said, “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,” WFTV-ABC in Orlando reported.

A press release from the governor’s office indicates that the new law places 12-year consecutive term limits for members of school boards in the sunshine state and “requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials.” The press release stated that “As a part of the Year of the Parent, this legislation aims to preserve the rights of parents to make decisions about what materials their children are exposed to in school.”

DeSantis said, “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.”

Wilton Simpson, the President of the Florida Senate, said, “While teachers, school administrators, and school board members have a tremendous amount of authority over what and how our kids are taught in school, at the end of the day, parents — not schools — are responsible for raising children.”

He continued, “Florida parents are seeking greater involvement in many aspects of our education system, and this legislation speaks to that effort. The books our kids are reading in schools need to have proper vetting. Parents have a right, and a responsibility, to be involved in that process. Not all books are appropriate for every grade level. This legislation makes sure that we have a transparent and consistent process for public participation in the review of books and other materials used in school lessons and in the school library.”

“Governor DeSantis has shown time and time again that he is not afraid to fight for the rights of parents and understands the importance that they have a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s education,” the Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said. “I’m grateful for the Governor’s guidance and the voices of many parents, who have come forward and demands that parents be seen as a partner in their child’s education.”

This new law requires school districts in Florida to hold public meetings for the purpose of selecting instructional materials and provide the public with ample notice of when and where the meetings will be held. It also stipulates that the school districts must provide access to all materials no-less than 20 days before the school board takes official action on proposed instructional material. The state Department of Education is also compelled by law to publish a list of materials that have been removed or discontinued by the school board and disseminate the list to school districts within the state.

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