UEA Asks Gov. Cox To Veto HB 427 ‘Individual Freedom in Public Education’

Dear Governor Cox:

The Utah Education Association is asking you to veto a bill that is poor public policy.

HB 427 Sub 2 Individual Freedom in Public Education undermines public trust in professional educators and contradicts efforts to make this session “the year of the teacher”.

The legislation requires curriculum and instructional materials be consistent with certain identified principles related to critical race theory. However, the Utah Legislature already addressed critical race theory in Utah classrooms through SR 901 and HR 901 passed in a 2021 Extraordinary Session, even after the Governor’s office opted not to place critical race theory on a special session agenda. The State Board of Education subsequently implemented R277-328 Educational Equity in Schools and school districts have adopted policies to comply.

HB 427 ignores the fact that educators already must teach the core standards adopted by the State Board of Education using curriculum and instructional materials adopted by their local school board. HB 427 perpetuates the harmful myth that Utah educators and public schools “indoctrinate” students. Instead, Utah schools need policies that foster inclusive school communities where every child feels welcome, supported and understood by educators.

Surprisingly, an amendment on the Senate floor to align the protected categories listed in 53G-10-206 (2)(a)(ii)(C) with those already protected in anti-discrimination sections of statute by adding “gender identity” was voted down.

Of particular concern is 53G-10-206 (3)(b) which states an LEA may not “…allow instructional personnel…to implement policies or programs, with content that is inconsistent with the principles described in Subsection (2)(a)”. The language in Subsection (2)(a) is so broad and undefined it will be impossible for educators to know precisely what is allowed or prohibited. Rather it will be left to the interpretation of parents and administrators to decide, placing teachers in an untenable position that potentially risks their career.

For these reasons, we ask you to veto HB 427. Thank you for being so considerate.

Renée Pinkney
President, Utah Education Association

cc: Neil Abercrombie
Brandon Baca
Jennifer Boehme
Brittney Cummins
Sara Jones