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Florida Law Opens Door to Contesting Curriculum

A new law in Florida requires school boards to allow residents to present concerns about instructional materials to an "impartial hearing officer" who can require schools to stop using materials if she or he determines they are justified. 

Proponents say the law is aimed at giving parents more control over their children's education. But advocates for science education say it seems as though the law will target science education: The Washington Post reports that there are concerns that the bill will be used to challenge the teaching of oft-controversial subjects such as climate change. 

But science is hardly the only subject that traditionally draws parents' and citizens' concerns: Materials used in social studies classes to teach about religions, for instance, regularly draw concerns. And we reported earlier this year on a situation in New Jersey in which a citizen crusaded against the disapperance of full novels and books in a school district's English/language-arts curriculum. 

The Florida law also requires districts to keep track of instructional materials—which could be surprisingly difficult at a time when more teachers are turning to the internet to procure such materials.

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