The Kentucky Department of Education released guidance this week on several education bills that contain emergency clauses – meaning they are already in effect.
Education Commissioner Jason Glass said in his Monday Message that the guidance may create more questions than answers.
“We at KDE do not have the authority to answer, directly or definitively, many of the good questions that you may have about these new laws,” he said. “We urge you to make decisions about the questions raised collaboratively with your district counsel.”
The guidance includes Senate Bill 5, which creates a process for parent complaints about materials/programs they view as “harmful to minors” under a definition of the term in the law. KSBA worked with KDE to create the model policy language in the guidance and will be sent to districts as part of KSBA’s annual policy update.
The law requires boards to adopt a complaint resolution policy by July 1.
Also included is guidance for SB 150, which put new rules around parents’ rights, transgender student bathroom policies and medical care for transgender children. The guidance states that the bill creates confusion because of possible conflicts with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The guidance also says KDE can no longer give guidance around pronoun usage, because the new law states that teachers cannot be required to call students by pronouns that do not align with their biological sex at birth. In the supplemental guidance on SB 150, KDE explains that a 5th grade health standard on puberty can no longer be taught.
“We do understand that questions may arise around matters such as curricular systems, connections to early college credit (Advanced Placement and dual credit) course content, and student free speech or other potential federal constitutional issues these laws may create,” Glass said.
The recently issued guidance also covers HB 32, HB 153, HB 553, SB 25, SB 49 and SB 107.
KDE staff went over the guidance during Tuesday’s Superintendents Webcast. During the next Superintendents’ Webcast on May 9 KSBA staff will join KDE staff for a breakdown of the SB 5 policy. School boards will receive their full annual policy updates from KSBA at the end of May.