Public Policy

The Role of California School Boards and our Role:

The Role of California School Boards

Seena Trigas, AAUW California Public Policy School Board Project

AAUW California is concerned about the censorship of classroom material, the heightened enforcement of board policies rejecting diversity, and providing discriminatory policies against gay and minority students. This concern now leads me, as a former school board member, high school teacher/department chair and adjunct college professor, to reflect on the role of school boards in California and their limitations.

The State Board of Education (SBE) is the controlling structure for K-12, and is the governing and policy-making body of the state for public education.  Among its duties is the adoption of statewide academic standards for content and of curriculum frameworks.  These inform and guide the local school boards in the development and implementation of specific curricula for  K-12  students, and serve as the basis for the adoption of instructional materials.  School board members represent districts within the school district boundaries. 

In 2023 AB1078 was passed, which requires the California State Department of Education to assess if school boards are in compliance with state laws requiring public schools to provide diverse and comprehensive education.  It requires local school districts with insufficient instructional materials to correct this and authorizes the department to purchase (at district expense) adequate curricula if the district restricts students from learning about important topics like racism, sexism, and gender-based marginalization.

AAUW branch members play a critical role in ensuring all California school boards are governed by board members who will follow AB 1078, and who oppose policies that infringe on the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students. 

Morgan Hill AAUW School Board Monitoring

AAUW Morgan Hill members are attending meetings of the Morgan Hill Unified School District board to monitor both the board and the public for threats to AB 1078 and the rights of all students to an equitable education. 

If you would like to join the public policy team to attend MHUSD meetings, contact Public Policy 

Susan Rife, Public Policy chair

Return to March/April 2024 Newsletter