SB 4
Modifies provisions regarding transparency in public schools and creates the Parents' Bill of Rights Act of 2023
Sponsor:
LR Number:
1064S.06C
Last Action:
2/6/2023 - Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection
Journal Page:
Title:
SCS SBs 4, 42 & 89
Effective Date:
August 28, 2023

Current Bill Summary

SS/SCS/SBs 4, 42, & 89 - This act creates and modifies provisions regarding transparency in elementary and secondary education.

CURRICULUM (Section 160.516)

The act provides that each local school board and charter school governing board shall be required to approve and adopt the curriculum at least two months prior to implementation. Each school board and charter school governing board shall adopt policies to ensure that the approved and adopted curricula are properly implemented in the classroom.

The school accountability report cards for the past five years shall be posted on the district's or charter school's website and shall be available for inspection at each individual attendance center of a school district or charter school, as well as being posted on the newly created Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal.

ACCOUNTABILITY REPORT CARDS (Section 160.522)

The act provides that school accountability report cards for each public school district, public school building, and charter school shall be maintained on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website, as well as the website of each school district and charter school and all attendance centers. School attendance centers shall also provide the information in a printed document to the parent, guardian, or other responsible person for each enrolled student within five school days of the start of each school year or within five school days of enrollment. The act outlines the type of data that shall be made available on the report card and the means by which any website user may provide feedback on the report card webpage. The act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish an advisory group to continuously make updates and revisions to the report card to improve its usefulness based on user feedback.

PARENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS ACT OF 2023 (Section 161.841)

This act creates the "Parents' Bill of Rights Act of 2023", which shall be construed to empower parents to enforce rights, as delineated in the act, to access records maintained by schools in which their children are enrolled. No school shall require nondisclosure agreements for a parent's review of curricula, and each school shall allow parents, upon request, to review or make a copy of curriculum documents or to receive such documents in an electronic format, provided that no request would cause an infringement of copyright protections under the federal Copyright Act of 1976. Where the curricular materials being made available to parents for review are subject to copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property protection, the review process shall include technical and procedural safeguards to ensure that the materials are not able to be widely disseminated to the general public in violation of the intellectual property rights of the publisher and that content validity is not undermined. No school shall collect any biometric data of a minor child without obtaining parental consent, except for biometric data necessary to create and issue appropriate school identification cards. A school that collects such data shall ensure that all copies of such data are destroyed within one year of a student's withdrawal of enrollment from the school district. Finally, each school shall notify parents of all reported incidents directly pertaining to their student's safety that result in any violation of the school's safety policy or any criminal charge against a teacher, school employee, or any visitor or guest.

MISSOURI EDUCATION TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY PORTAL (Section 161.852)

The Commissioner of Education shall establish the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal to provide citizens with access to every school district's curriculum, textbooks, source materials, and syllabi as provided in the act. The portal shall include the cost associated with speakers and guests used by a school in their professional development activities. The portal shall include names of presenters and distributed materials from all administrator, teacher, and staff professional development and instructional programs offered to public schools, provided that no such disclosure violates federal copyright laws, and shall be fully transparent and available to parents of students enrolled at such schools. The portal shall include information about school board members and their terms of office. The portal shall also include an easy-to-search database of certain public school financial transactions and the basic salaries of public school employees. Finally, for programs offered to schools by third-party contractors, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall maintain data on such programs as described in the act.

The act provides that information related to curriculum materials, school board members, and staff professional development programs shall be submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education monthly and posted on the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal within seven calendar days of the Department's receipt of such information. School districts' financial information, including employee salaries and financial information relating to third-party contractor programs, shall be submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education not less than twice per year.

Any school that knowingly violates provisions relating to the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal shall be subject to a penalty of up to $25,000, unless such school proves to the satisfaction of the Department that it is no longer in violation of such provisions.

DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN CONCEPT AND BELIEFS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Section 170.355)

No school or school employee shall compel teachers to teach, or a student or teacher to personally adopt, adhere to, or profess a position or viewpoint a reasonable person would conclude violates certain public policy expressed in the act including but not limited to: that individuals of any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior and that individuals, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by others.

Courses on critical race theory or units of study on critical race theory within a course shall not be offered by any public elementary or secondary school or by any preschool, early childhood education program, or pre-kindergarten program offered by a public school district or charter school.

No school district, public school, or charter school may require a student or employee to attend or participate in a certain training, instruction, or therapy that a reasonable person believes promotes such beliefs or concepts.

This act shall not be construed to prohibit constitutionally protected speech, access to research or study materials, or the discussion or assignment of materials for educational purposes.

Any employee of a school district that discloses a violation of this provision shall be protected from any manner of retaliation as provided by current law.

If a parent learns that a teacher is in violation of the act, and such teacher is acting independently, then the parent may file a complaint with the Department, which shall send the complaint to the State Board of Education and notify the local educational agency. The Board shall hold a contest case hearing between the parent and the school district within 30 days of receiving such a complaint. Upon a determination by the Board that a violation is occurring, a penalty as stated in the act shall apply.

If a parent learns that a teacher is in violation of the act, and such violation is occurring throughout the school district, the parent may file a complaint with the Department, which shall send the complaint to the State Board of Education and notify the local educational agency. The Board shall hold a contested case hearing between the parent and the school district within 30 days of receiving such complaint. Upon a determination by the Board that a violation is occurring, a penalty as stated in the act shall apply.

If a public school or public charter school knowingly violates any provision of this section, or if an employee of a public school or public charter school knowingly violates any provision of this section, the public school or public charter school where such violation occurred shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, and subject to a civil penalty of five hundred dollars per occurrence. Any person injured under this section shall have standing to pursue an action in the circuit court of Cole County. The court shall hold a hearing on the motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction within thirty days of service of the petition. In such action, the court may award the pursuing party, other than the state of Missouri or any political subdivision of the state, reasonable attorney fees and costs.

PATRIOTIC AND CIVICS TRAINING PROGRAM (Section 170.370)

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall develop a patriotic and civics training program to prepare teachers to teach the principles of American civics and patriotism. Subject to appropriation, each teacher that completes the training shall receive a one-time bonus of three thousand dollars to be paid by the Department.

This act is similar to SB 451 (2023), SB 158 (2023), SB 776 (2022), SB 653 (2022), HB 482 (2023), HB 627 (2023), HB 1747 (2022), HB 1634 (2022), and HB 1815 (2022).

OLIVIA SHANNON