Do local schools district have the right to chose their own curriculum as Superintendent Tom Luna claims?

Filed in Uncategorized by on January 23, 2014 1 Comment

Do local schools district have the right to chose their own curriculum as Superintendent Tom Luna claims?

by Isaac Moffet

In September 2009, I along with a local school district, a parent and a student sued Tom Luna, members of the Idaho Charter School Commission and the members of the Idaho State Board of Education in federal court over our right as a local school district, teacher, parent and student’s right to use the curriculum of our choice.

Just as today, Tom Luna continues to travel all over the state claiming local school districts can chose their own curriculum.  As this law suit clearly shows, Mr. Luna is absolutely incorrect in what he is saying.  The truth is, local school district can chose, but only from the pre-approved curriculum list the State Board of Education has chosen.

Since the Idaho State Board of Education determines the selection from which the local school districts can choose from, will it make any difference whatsoever if they have the freedom to choose? That is like being offered hemlock or cyanide. The end result will be the same.

I have extracted Judge Lodge’s rulings concerning local school districts and parents rights in choosing their own curriculum.

Nampa Classical Academy, et al., Vs. William Goesling, et al., No. CV09-427-S-EJL (Boise, ID/United States District Court for the District of Idaho 17 May 2010) (Edward J. Lodge/Memorandum, Decision, and Order).

  1. Judge Lodge wrote the “crux” of this case is over the “…the rights of teachers to choose which materials and sources to use in classroom teaching, the rights of students to receive that information, the rights of parents to ensure that their students receive information, and the right to be free from government action or retaliation against those who exercise their constitutional rights” (p. 13).
  2. Judge Lodges makes clear “students and teachers do not have a “right to influence curriculum…[for] the curriculum taught in public schools is government speech” (p. 17)
  3. Judge Lodge clearly agrees with the Attorney General when he defends the States actions of forbidding a local school district from choosing its on curriculum  for the State Board of Education is “required [to] under Idaho law to prescribe the curriculum for public education in Idaho” (p. 16).
  4. Judge Lodge clearly and unequivocally makes clear “The curriculum for public education in Idaho is prescribed by Idaho law” (p. 20).
  5. Lodge also agrees with the AG when he writes “The State Board of Education has the authority and responsibility for setting the curriculum for public education in the state of Idaho with which all public schools in Idaho, including public charter schools must comply” (p. 20).
  6. Lodge cites Idaho Code “§ 33-118. Courses of study–Curricular materials. The state board shall prescribe the minimum courses to be taught in all public elementary and secondary schools, and shall cause to be prepared and issued, such syllabi, study guides and other instructional aids as the board shall from time to time deem necessary. The board shall also determine how and under what rules curricular materials shall be adopted for the public schools” and “§ 33-118A. Curricular materials–Adoption procedures. All curricular materials adoption committees appointed by the state board of education shall contain at least two (2) persons who are not public educators or school trustees. All meetings of curricular materials adoption committees shall be open to the public. Any member of the public may attend such meetings and file written or make oral objections to any curricular materials under consideration. A complete and cataloged library of all curricular materials adopted in the immediately preceding three (3) years and used in Idaho public schools, and all electronically available curricular materials used in Idaho public schools are to be maintained at the state department of education at all times and open to the public” (p. 21).
  7. Lodge defines ‘“Curricular materials” is defined as textbook and instructional media including software, audio/visual media and internet resources” (p.21).
  8. Lodge writes, “These statues vested the Defendants [State Board of Education] with the authority and reasonability for setting the curriculum for public education in Idaho” (p. 21).
  9. Lodge writes “The materials sought to be used by the…[school district] have not been approved for use in the public school curriculum by the [Idaho Charter School]Commission or [the State] Board [of Education who have the responsibility to do so under the law in Idaho” (p. 22).
  10. Lodge also writes” These actions did not ban books that had previously been approved for use in the public school curriculum…” by the State Board of Education (p.23).
  11. Lodge writes the State Board of education has “the authority and responsibility for setting the curriculum for public schools in Idaho” (p.23).
  12. Lodge ruled the State Board of Education has the “control over the content of the curriculum” (p. 25) and again he explains the State Board of Education has the control over curriculum by “selecting the school curriculum for public education…” (p. 25). Lodge also declares schools districts “are not the master of the content of the public school curriculum in Idaho…That responsibility falls squarely upon the” State Board of Education (p. 25). He ended by reasserting the State Board of Education’s “duties imposed upon them under Idaho law to select public school curriculum” (p. 26).


Here is the actual Lawsuit.

And here you can read the Idaho Code referenced

So, Mr. Luna needs to quit spreading misinformation.



Comments (1)

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  1. Michael Moffett says:

    Let’s call it what it is…a lie. State officials are lying and they know it. Mr. Luna was named in that lawsuit so he is very aware what he is saying is not true.

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