On Wednesday, the State Board of Education (SBE) released a proposed change to the regulations regarding selection of instructional materials.
Historically, the SBE oversees the selection of textbooks, but local policies have guided the selection of additional instructional materials, such as library books and other classroom materials.
The draft regulation released on Wednesday would take control away from schools and districts and place it in the hands of the SBE.
We strongly encourage you to read the full proposed regulation, linked below:
Click Here to Read the Proposed Regulation
This proposed regulation establishes two main guidelines for instructional materials:
Furthermore, this draft regulation puts in place a process that allows "any person residing within the school district attendance area" to file a complaint regarding new or existing instructional materials in a school. The local school board or a designee would be required to respond to the complaint within 60 days, and the complainant has the option to appeal the local school board's decision to the SBE. Any decisions made by the State Board of Education on contested materials would be final and would apply to all districts in the state, not just the district in which the complaint was filed.
Under this definition, classic works of literature such as Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and others would be prohibited materials.
This policy still has several steps to go through before it becomes state regulation:
1. The full State Board of Education will meet at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 in the Rutledge Building, 1429 Senate Street, Columbia, SC, 29201 for a first reading of the policy. The board cannot vote on a policy during the first reading.
2. On January 9, 2024, at 1:00 pm in the Rutledge Building, there will be a public hearing on the proposed regulation. The SBE will also use this meeting to do the second reading of the policy. The board can vote on the policy during second reading, but they can also choose to delay voting.
3. Once approved by the Board, it will be sent to the General Assembly for approval. The legislature will have 120 days to either approve or deny the regulation.
We are asking members to submit feedback on the proposed regulations either in person at the November 14 or January 9 meetings, or via email. If you would like to submit feedback via email, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5:00 pm on January 4, 2024.