Instructional Materials Committee. School district boards of directors must adopt a policy relative to the selection or deletion of instructional materials. The policy must establish an instructional materials committee with certain members. The instructional materials committee makes a recommendation about the materials in accordance with district policy, and the school board approves or disapproves the recommendations.
First-Class and Second-Class School Districts. First-class school districts have enrollments of 2000 or more students, and second-class school districts have fewer than 2000 students.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. State law defines the following terms:
Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, and every other school year thereafter, school districts must use one of the professional learning days to provide staff a variety of opportunities aligned with cultural competency, equity, diversity, and inclusion standards of practice developed by the Professional Educator Standards Board.
Washington State Office of Equity. This office is established within the Office of the Governor for promoting access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities, and improve outcomes statewide across state government.
Bias Screening Tool. State law directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to develop rules and guidelines to eliminate discrimination in textbooks and instructional materials used by students. OSPI rule requires school districts and charter schools to adopt an instructional materials policy that includes selection criteria designed to eliminate bias based on sex; race; creed; religion; color; national origin; honorably discharged veteran or military status; sexual orientation; gender expression; gender identity; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability; and the use of a trained dog guide or service animal.
Inclusive Curricula Coordinators. Subject to appropriations, first-class districts must designate an inclusive curricula coordinator to promote, advise, and support development and adoption of curricula that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Each ESD must also designate a regional coordinator that must work with second-class districts.
The goal of the coordinators is to minimize students' fear and anxiety and help facilitate a sense of safety, belonging, inclusion, and engagement among students. Coordinators have certain duties, including:
Coordinators may be a current employee with these additional duties, or a new employee with these duties.
Regional Youth Advisory Councils. Subject to appropriations, each ESD must establish a Regional Youth Advisory Council for inclusive curricula and equity. The purpose of the councils is advise and inform the work of inclusive curricula coordinators, and they must:
The council must consist of at least one student representative from each school district within the ESD and have students with diverse backgrounds. Students may be selected to serve on the council by staff recommendation, application, or interview.
Open Educational Resource Database. Subject to appropriations, OSPI, in collaboration with the statewide association of educational service districts and the Washington State School Directors' Association, must create an open educational resource database for developing inclusive curricula. OSPI must consult with the Office of Equity and other relevant agencies.
The database must include resources that include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of historically marginalized and underrepresented groups.
The database must facilitate the free use, adaptation, and sharing of these resources among school districts and certificated staff.
PRO: Inclusive education helps scholars from all backgrounds, cultures, and identities because it helps them connect to the instructional materials. It is important for students to feel safe, a sense of belonging, and that they see themselves reflected in school curricula. Inclusive curricula helps improve academic performance, attendance, graduation rates, and mental health. This bill was developed by the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, which is student-led. For students of color who live in predominantly white communities, it is especially important to have inclusive curricula like ethnic studies. This bill goes beyond race and is inclusive of many identities. Inclusive curricula is critical for student engagement and full participation in the school community. School districts need funding for professional development and materials to support inclusive curricula. Teaching civility, fairness, and respect for others is not new, but it is necessary. Students lose hope if their teachers do not value their culture and identity. By diversifying the educational system, it will allow students to learn from different perspectives, which will foster more empathy and is needed in this polarized socio-political climate. Inclusive education is crucial to a whole-child approach and prepares students for the diverse world. There are some implementation questions, and there could be a lack of curricula that meets the intent of the legislation.
CON: Inclusive coordinators deny the common humanity among diverse people, which leads to mental health issues. It is important for students to be involved in the legislative process, but this bill is not necessary. OSPI is already providing resources to promote and school districts are providing inclusive curricula. Students who are white and straight are getting shamed and villainized, and they represent a majority in this state. Students should not be taught that they are victims, marginalized, or oppressed. This bill would denigrate individual worth, dignity, and free will and is de-humanizing. This bill does not define women, and women have been marginalized throughout human history. Communism and socialism thrive on division. This bill raises civil liberty concerns. Teachers may be prevented from providing a range of perspectives and classroom discussions could be chilled. This bill is promoting critical race theory in public schools. This bill is not inclusive because it includes instruction that violates parents' religious beliefs. This bill could create division and promote skepticism rather than unity. School curriculum should not be politicized or elevate one particular group.
OTHER: It is important that this bill is subject to appropriations. Staffing enrichment for school principals is needed since they are the instructional leaders.