One of my favorite things about serving on the State School Board is touring our local schools and meeting the wonderful administrators in our area. During one such meeting, the topic of my recent radio interview with Kate Dalley regarding a parent’s right to opt out of the SAGE test came up. The administrators were concerned that I had relayed a few of Utah’s laws regarding parental rights to the radio listeners. In discussing the merits of parental rights, they felt that parents didn’t know what was best for their children. They tried to reason with me that it was better for school administrators to keep parents from fully understanding parental rights laws in order to protect the schools.
Until this moment, it never occurred to me that someone could be offended by laws that advocate for parents, let alone our own, public school administrators. Yet, throughout the meeting, it became clear that there are administrators in our own community that truly believe that their educational background and experience take precedence over parents in making decisions for the children of Southern Utah.
Now that I have a better understanding of what some local administrators believe, I would like to know the following:
1- What guidelines do local administrators use to assess what is in the best interest of the child and how do they regard the expertise of the parents as they make these assessments?
2- What measurements do the administrators use to decide if the parents are qualified to make educational decisions for their own children?
3- Will parents only be regarded as competent if they agree with the administrators?
4- What laws or statutes endow administrators with the power to decide a parent’s worthiness to make decisions regarding the education of their children?
5- Who are administrators accountable to if they make decisions for a child that end up negatively impacting that child?
Parents, please talk to your school administrators and make sure they understand that the family is the fundamental unit of society. We are grateful for school officials that serve our community at the pleasure of the parents.