CAS Legal Mailbag ' 3/27/23

Published date11 May 2023
Subject MatterConsumer Protection, Government, Public Sector, Constitutional & Administrative Law, Education
Law FirmShipman & Goodwin LLP
AuthorMr Thomas B. Mooney

Listen to this post

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly Newsletter

Dear Legal Mailbag:

Curriculum and what students are instructed is a "hot topic" around the country right now. As local and regional boards of education approve curriculum for the district, what happens if one or more members disagree with a particular course or unit in the curriculum? Of course, a board of education can disapprove an entire curriculum or a course brought to them, but can the board vote to make changes to particular parts of the curriculum document to amend it?

Leave It To The Professionals

Dear Leave It:

To answer your question, Legal Mailbag concludes that boards of education can indeed make changes to proposed curriculum, but any such action will be subject to statutory and constitutional limitations. Whether and when to do so, however, is a different question, and Legal Mailbag is not aware of boards of education in Connecticut exercising this authority in a partisan or political way.

As to curriculum specifically, we are guided by two statutes. First, Conn. Gen. Stat. ' 10-16b specifies the subjects to be taught in the public schools, and other statutes provide that the content of certain courses must meet specified requirements. See, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. ' 10-18 (requirements for courses in United States history, Conn. Gen. Stat. ' 10-16tt, 10-16uu (requirements for Black and Latino studies courses). In approving curriculum, boards of education must comply with the required course elements specified in statutes.

Second, Conn. Gen. Stat. ' 10-220(e) requires that all boards of education create a "curriculum committee," which per the statute has extensive authority. The statute provides:

(e) Each local and regional board of education shall establish a school district curriculum committee. The committee shall recommend, develop, review and approve all curriculum for the local or regional school district.

This statutory provision is problematic, because it contemplates that the same committee will perform multiple and potentially inconsistent responsibilities to "recommend, develop, review and approve" all curriculum, inviting the question how the same committee would both recommend (to whom?) and approve (for whom?) curriculum that it both developed and reviewed by the same committee.

Legal Mailbag has done its best to make sense of this statute and concludes that it should be interpreted in light of the standard function of a committee, which is to act on...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT