January 6, 2022
A new year brings opportunities to renew relationships by making new commitments, priorities and choices. In the realm of education, this is especially true for the parent-teacher partnership.
In the healthy parent-teacher partnership, parents’ legally recognized responsibility to be “the primary person responsible for the education of the student” is honored. Parents’ fundamental right to “exercise primary control over … [the] education of their children” is respected. A straightforward application of these principles suggests policies like robust curriculum transparency: empowering the voices of parents in district curriculum decisions and proactively informing them regarding the classroom topics that their children will discuss in an upcoming school year.
In the healthy parent-teacher partnership, teachers are treated as professionals trained and practiced in the art and skill of educating young minds. Educators are respected for accepting and embracing the highest professional standards in their civic role of educating future generations of American and Utah citizens. They are provided the resources and freedom to do their job well and are spared unnecessary burdens caused by foreseeable and unintended consequences of education policy reforms. Application of these principles suggests that policies like curriculum transparency should be crafted in a way that supports educators as teachers and avoids placing undue burdens on their shoulders.
Curriculum transparency policies, when done right, renew the parent-teacher partnership.
Curriculum transparency recommits parents and teachers to efforts focused on student learning. The time required from teachers to create curriculum transparency for parents and from parents to make that transparency beneficial by engaging with their student in their learning are evidence of that commitment.
Curriculum transparency prioritizes the interests of students in public education, rather than adults. The investment of time and energy that curriculum transparency requires of both parents and educators reveals that prioritization.
Curriculum transparency encourages choices from parents and teachers that unite them in a shared goal of student success. It encourages educators to choose to constructively engage parents in the education of their child and parents to choose to support the teacher’s classroom instruction with student engagement in the home.
Multiple proposals to strengthen curriculum transparency are likely to come forward during the upcoming 2022 legislative session. That presents us with the opportunity to make 2022 the year that Utah showed its determination, for the sake of students, to rise above the current political temptation to polarize every issue – and instead renew the parent-teacher partnership. If we can accomplish that, it really will make 2022 a happy new year.
This case should establish whether the state can require creative professionals and businesses to send messages even if it does not express antipathy to the professional or business beliefs.
It’s easy to follow the path of viewing someone who disagrees with you as short on intelligence or morality. It takes depth of character to take the road less traveled.
There needs to be a way to correct decisions at odds with the underlying laws being applied. The court can and does have options to prevent (or correct) this type of result.