resources for parents & students

Reassert control over education

testing

Every district has its own policies on tests they require or facilitate independent of the state. HOWEVER, if you have concerns about automated assessment tools that are made available statewide but may be used by your district, such as Utah Compose (an automated essay “grading” program), you can request that your children’s work be graded by an actual human. As it should be, especially with writing.

Parents have the right to opt their children out of any testing required by or facilitated through the Utah State Board of Education.

 

USBE Policy on Opting Out

USBE Opt-out Form

MEETINGS

All public meetings in Utah are made available through the Utah.gov Public Notice Website. You can filter the meetings you want by selecting from the options on the page, and then subscribing to the meetings you’d like to receive email notifications of. Its a great tool for keeping up on all the developments in your local schools, school district, and state education board.

Utah Public Notice Website

Many public meetings will have a public or citizen participation portion of the meeting that you can sign up to speak at. The easiest way to find out you can get on the list to speak is to call the office of the governing body conducting the meeting and ask how to best sign up to speak. Common options include:

  • Filling out an online form
  • Signing up on a list the day of the meeting
  • Emailing a request to speak
  • Calling a number to sign up

 

Remember to ask the time given to speakers and to call at least a week ahead if possible. Some governing bodies will limit your options and make it more difficult for the public to participate.

 

Parental rights

Parents and children have rights protected by federal laws that extend into their schooling experiences.

Parents can inform schools of their desire to have their children exempted or opted-out of divisive content in schools including, but not limited, to:

Critical Race Theory
Equity-based instruction (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion/Culturally Responsive Teaching, etc.)
Social Emotional Learning/Transformative SEL
Gender/Sexuality-based instruction
Parental form to opt-out of divisive content

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. IDEA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education.

IDEA allows parents to ask for Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) for their students with disabilities (as specifically defined in IDEA). 
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Utah State Board of Education has a more complete description of special education provisions.
USBE Special Education Rules

How do I prepare for an IEP meeting for my child?
Developing the IEP – Utah Parent Center

IEP Facilitation is an early intervention process available to parents and school districts or charter schools
when there is conflict about a student’s special education program. The following link provides a form to help you begin this intervention process if you feel your child’s IEP provisions are not being adequately met.
Utah Facilitation Intake Form

What if my child doesn’t qualify for an IEP under IDEA? 
He or she may qualify for a 504 Accommodation. 

The Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability. In section 504 of the act, it specifically addresses disability discrimination in schools.

A 504 Accommodation allows a child to receive individualized accommodations in schools if he or she has “a history of, or…are regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities…. Major life activities include caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning.
Your Rights Under Section 504 (hhs.gov)

How do you get a 504 Accommodation for you child?
Call your school counselor, and request an appointment be made for a 504 Accommodation meeting. An administrator, your child’s counselor, and your child’s teachers will often attend this meeting.

Your parental acknowledgment of a medically diagnosed 504 need is often sufficient in and of itself to merit a 504 Accommodation. 
Does My Student Qualify for a 504? – Utah Parent
Center

You’ll be asked to suggest the types of interventions you feel will be helpful for your child, and school staff at the meeting may also make suggestions. Consent only to those you feel comfortable with (you can ask for amendments to be made to the 504 after it is signed).
Accommodation suggestions (warmlinefrc.org)
Anxiety accommodations (valpo.k12.in.us)
ADHD accomodations (ourcounselingoffice.com)

An administrator will fill out a form with the agreed upon accommodations. Review this form CAREFULLY. Make sure the provisions requested are all listed before you sign.
Differences Between an IEP and a 504 – LD Topics