Sponsor withdraws controversial ‘syllabus’ bill

Photo: Wokandapix/Pixabay

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 28, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A controversial bill that sought to require educators to post curricula and class syllabi online, and which was strongly opposed by the leadership of the Utah Education Association, has been withdrawn by its sponsor.

Rep. Jordan D. Teuscher (R-District 42) had proposed House Bill 234, titled Public Educator Curriculum Transparency Requirements. On Friday, Teuscher released a statement about its withdrawal.

“Timing is everything in politics and in order to ensure that teachers are heard, misconceptions are dispelled, and the best solutions are developed, I think this bill is going to need more than the 34 days that we have left in this session,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

“I strongly believe that this is a topic worth taking the time to get right. As such, I have spoken with House leadership and the chair of the Rules Committee and have asked them to hold on the bill so we can take the time that is needed to more fully flesh it out. I will recommend that this bill be added to the list of topics to be studied by the Education Interim Committee. This will give me time to meet with more interested parties, adapt the bill to better meet the needs of parents and teachers, and have a better forum to receive public input.”

UEA response

The UEA had published a petition, asking people to “Support Educators: Oppose Unnecessary Curriculum Review.”

“This unnecessary legislation shows an utter lack of understanding of instructional design and how teachers work,” the petition says. “It is not a common-sense approach to increasing parental involvement and the responsiveness of public schools.”

It further criticized HB 234 with the following points:

  • The bill is completely unnecessary and actually does nothing districts cannot already do. Parents and teachers already can, should and do communicate frequently and work closely to support student learning. Such a process doesn’t require legislative intervention.
  • The bill would stifle classroom discussion and inhibit the learning process by preventing a teacher from being responsive to student interests and inquiry if it’s not preplanned on a syllabus.
  • The bill is overly broad in requiring “public inspection” of learning materials, which could be interpreted as any person anywhere, not just the parents of students enrolled in a district. Local school patrons should be guiding district decisions through locally elected school boards because community interests vary across the state.
  • There was no consultation with educators in drafting this bill. The lack of respect for education professionals stings and we won’t stand for it.


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