Sutherland Institute testimony in support of improved curriculum transparency

Written by Stan Rasmussen

October 22, 2021

The following is a statement presented before the Interim Education Committee of the Utah Legislature by Stan Rasmussen, Sutherland Institute vice president of government affairs, on Oct. 20, 2021.

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good morning, Senators and Representatives. Stan Rasmussen with Sutherland Institute. 

We appreciate Senator Fillmore’s efforts in focusing on this important matter of curriculum transparency. And we acknowledge the work of others among your colleagues who similarly are developing proposals that address this timely topic.

I believe we all recognize that public education teachers and the facilitative system our state leaders established in earlier generations – and that you and our state’s citizens continue to support today – were not intended to enable an outsourcing of parents’ responsibility to provide for the nurturing, development and education of their children. Public education was and is to be a trusted partner, an effective resource and supplement to the teaching parents do in their respective homes.

Recent Sutherland research makes clear that most parents in Utah trust most teachers. And most teachers in Utah hold sacred their duty to teach. This parent-teacher partnership is key to student success, and to effectively resolving questions and concerns about curriculum as such issues arise.

We recommend that the impact on the partnership between parents and teachers be an important criterion for evaluating the legislative proposals regarding curriculum transparency. 

Robust transparency will strengthen this partnership and facilitate what should be a collaborative and ongoing assessment of both curriculum content and accuracy, as well as the values that should be taught in the home, and the knowledge that should be taught at school. A cooperative commitment to curriculum transparency will keep that process grounded in fact rather than fear, and it will protect two vital and trusted institutions – the family and public education.

Sutherland Institute supports and will continue to advocate for enhanced curriculum transparency for grades K-12.

Thank you.

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