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  • PSSAM Staff

HB 1202 Public Schools - Curriculum and Instructional Materials

BILL: HB 1202

TITLE: Public Schools - Curriculum and Instructional Materials

DATE: March 8, 2023

POSITION: Oppose

COMMITTEE: Ways and Means

CONTACT: Mary Pat Fannon, Executive Director, PSSAM

 

The Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM), on behalf of all twenty-four public school superintendents, opposes House Bill 1202.

House Bill 1202 would require the posting of all curriculum and instructional materials used at each public school on the school’s website, including all textbooks, reading materials, videos, digital materials, websites, and other online applications. Additionally, this bill would establish requirements for the production and inspection of certain instructional materials referenced in certain curriculum.

Maryland’s superintendents oppose this bill in favor of preserving each local system’s governance role and authority in developing policies and guidelines for curriculum and instructional materials. One of PSSAM’s longstanding legislative priorities centers on governance authority for local school systems to adopt education policies and school system budgets reflecting local priorities and resources. PSSAM believes the principle of local governance by local systems is fundamental to a sound system of public education, and by retaining decision-making authority at the local level, local boards of education can best balance educational practices, available resources to implement those practices, public input, and academic and financial accountability. Therefore, PSSAM strongly opposes any state and local initiatives that reduce local board governance or budgetary authority, as well as initiatives that create unfunded mandates for local systems.

It’s worth mentioning that many local systems already provide in-depth overviews of K-12 curriculum on their websites, outlining curriculum and content standards of both core and elective courses. Regardless, PSSAM firmly believes that the local policy-making authority in providing this information should remain within the purview of each local system in line with their budgetary needs. The task of providing descriptions of all instructional materials is simply unfeasible without attached funding, which this bill does not provide.

PSSAM, appreciates the General Assembly’s longtime recognition in support of local board governance in areas such as curriculum and instructional material. Therefore, PSSAM strongly recommends allowing for local policy-making authority in this area, which is always in compliance with state, federal and local guidelines.

For these reasons, PSSAM opposes House Bill 1202 and requests an unfavorable report.


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