On Friday, a bill regulating term limits for members of Florida’s school boards and providing greater access to educational materials available to pupils was signed into law by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis said, “We believe that parents not only have a role, but they also have the fundamental responsibility to be involved in their children’s education and that’s how it will be in the state of Florida,” according to WFTV-ABC in Orlando.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the new law places 12-year term limits on members of school boards in Florida and “obligates school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials.”
“As part of the Year of the Parent, this legislation aims to ensure that parents continue to have control over what materials their children are exposed to in school,” says the press release.
“Our parents have every right to be involved in our children’s education in Florida,” DeSantis added. “We will not allow politicians to take away parents’ rights to know what is being taught in our schools. I’m proud to sign this bill that guarantees curriculum transparency.”
“While teachers, school administrators, and school board members have a lot of control over what and how our kids are taught in schools, at the end of the day, parents — not schools — are responsible for raising children.” This was stated by Wilton Simpson, the President of the Florida Senate.
“This bill speaks to the desire of Florida parents for greater involvement in many aspects of our education system,” he continued. “The books our children are reading in school need to be properly vetted. Parents have a right and duty to participate in that process. Not all books are suitable for every grade level. This legislation establishes a transparent and consistent approach for public input on book and other educational materials used in class lessons and the school library.”
“Governor DeSantis has demonstrated time and time again that he is not afraid to defend parental rights and understands the significance of allowing parents a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s education,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “I’m thankful for the Governor’s assistance as well as many parents who have spoken up and demanded that parents be respected as partners in their children’s education.”
The new law, which went into effect in July, requires Florida school districts to hold public meetings to pick instructional materials and provides ample notice of when and where the events will take place.
The letter also states that the school districts must make all resources accessible no later than 20 days before the school board formally adopts proposed educational materials.
The state Department of Education is also required by law to publish a list of materials that have been withdrawn or discontinued by the school board and provide it to school districts in the state.