From: Sarah Robbins
To: Ronda Menlove, David Lifferth, Jack Draxler, Edward Redd, Curt Webb, Jacob Anderegg, Ryan Wilcox, Gage Froerer, Jeremy Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Brad Dee, Richard Greenwood, Paul Ray, Curtis Oda, Brad Wilson, Steve Handy, Stewart Barlow, Roger Barrus, Jim Nielson, Becky Edwards, Doug Sagers, Susan Duckworth, Jennifer M. Seelig, Rebecca Houck, Joel Briscoe, Angela Romero, Mike Kennedy, Brian King, Lee Perry, Janice Fisher, Larry Wiley, LaVar Christensen, Craig Hall, Johnny Anderson, Mark A. Wheatley, Patrice Arent, Carol Moss, Eric Hutchings, Jim Dunnigan, Lynn Hemingway, Daniel McCay, Jim Bird, Earl Tanner, Tim Cosgrove, Steve Eliason, Marie Poulson, Ken Ivory, Keven John Stratton, Robert Spendlove, Richard Cunningham, Greg Hughes, John Knotwell, Melvin Brown, Kraig Powell, John G. Mathis, Kay Christofferson, Brian Greene, Jon Cox, Val Peterson, Dana Layton, Keith Grover, Jon Stanard, Dean Sanpei, Rebecca Lockhart, Francis Gibson, Michael Mckell, Marc Roberts, Merrill Nelson, Jerry Anderson, Kay Mciff, Brad Last, John Westwood, mnoel, Lowry Snow, Don Ipson,
Subject: Please vote AGAINST SB 122--Parental Rights in Public Ed
Date: Thu Mar 13 04:29:00 MDT 2014
Body:
I am writing to encourage you to vote against SB 122. I am a practicing school psychologist here in Utah, and I have been employed in education for the past 13 years. I am a product of the Utah public school system, and I am a parent of children in the Utah public school system. I actually live in the legislative districts of the sponsors of this bill, so they certainly are not representing my opinions as a constituent, because I disagree with the tenets of this bill.

While I appreciate the intent to increase parent accountability that was included in the initial draft of this bill, the current version has removed all parent accountability and instead allows parents to not only complain about, but have the option to actually sue the LEA regarding issues that the parent may know little to nothing about. In my experience, most parents have good intentions, but they do not possess the training, experience, and knowledge that educators have, and to give parents this much legal power over trained, qualified educators is reckless at best.

Regarding lines 61-63: For example, in Jordan School District, before a student is retained in a grade, the student undergoes a rigorous, multi-faceted battery of testing so that all factors are considered prior to a decision being made about retention. The research generally shows that not only is grade retention not helpful, it can actually be harmful. Most parents don't know this, they don't know what to look for in terms of possible learning disabilities, and they don't have the expertise to make an informed decision about grade retention without the testing being completed first. Even still, the parent has due process rights as a member of the multi-disciplinary team, and they can still appeal the recommendation of the school to the local school board if they so desire.

Regarding lines 64-65: It is ludicrous to put into state law that a parent can have whatever teacher they want. Most schools try their best to accommodate parents and student needs, but not everyone can get their first or even second choice. Furthermore, parents (myself included with regard to my boundary school) are not privy to information about staffing and other student needs that the LEA may be aware of.

The bottom line is  ALL OF THESE ARE DECISIONS THAT ARE BEST LEFT TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD . This legislation is unnecessary and could potentially be harmful to children and education in Utah. Please vote against SB 122.

Thank you for your consideration. If you would like to discuss these issues with me further, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Sarah L. Robbins, M.S., Nationally Certified School Psychologist
School Psychologist--Jordan School District
Home: 10686 Pine Shadow Road
            South Jordan, UT 84095
            (801) 372-8012
Work:   Daybreak Elementary School
            South Jordan, Utah