§ 4.4. General policies.

 (a)  It is the policy of the Board that the local curriculum be designed by school entities to achieve the academic standards under §  4.12 (relating to academic standards) and any additional academic standards as determined by the school entity.

 (b)  It is the policy of the Board that local school entities have the greatest possible flexibility in curriculum planning consistent with providing quality education and in compliance with the School Code, including requirements for courses to be taught (24 P. S. § §  15-1501 and 16-1605); subjects to be taught in the English language (24 P. S. §  15-1511); courses adapted to the age, development and needs of the pupils (24 P. S. §  15-1512); minimum school year of 180 days and minimum of 900 hours of instruction at the elementary level and 990 hours of instruction at the secondary level (24 P. S. § §  15-1501 and 15-1504); employment of sufficient numbers of qualified professional employees (24 P. S. §  11-1106) and superintendents to enforce the curriculum requirements of State law (24 P. S. §  10-1005); and this part.

 (c)  Access to educational programs shall be provided without discrimination on the basis of a student’s race, sex, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

 (d)  School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:

   (1)  Access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved, instructional materials and assessment techniques.

   (2)  A process for the review of instructional materials.

   (3)  The right to have their children excused from specific instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school entity of a written request from the parent or guardians.

   (4)  The right to review a State assessment in the school entity during convenient hours for parents and guardians, at least 2 weeks prior to their administration, to determine whether a State assessment conflicts with their religious belief. To protect the validity and integrity of the State assessments, each school entity shall have in place procedures to be followed when parents or guardians request to view any State assessment. Procedures must be consistent with guidance provided by the Department in its assessment administration instructions. If upon inspection of a State assessment parents or guardians find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request that states the objection to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.

   (5)  The right to have their children excluded from research studies or surveys conducted by entities other than a school entity unless prior written consent has been obtained.

 (e)  The Department will provide support to school districts, AVTSs and charter schools, including cyber charter schools, in developing educational programs that enable students to attain academic standards under §  4.12. Department support will include:

   (1)  Establishment of a voluntary model curriculum and diagnostic supports aligned with State academic standards in each of the content areas assessed by the Keystone Exams under §  4.51b(i) and (j) (relating to Keystone Exams).

   (2)  Assistance in the development of effective student tutoring, remediation and extended instructional time programs.

   (3)  Opportunities for continuing professional education designed to improve instruction in each of the content areas assessed by the Keystone Exams under §  4.51b(i) and (j).

   (4)  Technical guidance in developing local assessments that meet the requirements of §  4.24(c)(1)(iii)(B) (relating to high school graduation requirements), upon request.

 (f)  The Department may not, and the Board will not, require school entities to utilize a Statewide curriculum or Statewide reading lists.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  4.4 amended under sections 121, 2603-B and 2604-B of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. § §  1-121, 26-2603-B and 26-2604-B).

Source

   The provisions of this §  4.4 amended February 15, 2008, effective February 16, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 872; amended January 8, 2010, effective January 9, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 240; amended February 28, 2014, effective March 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 1131. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (360681) to (360682) and (343091).

Cross Refenences

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements); 22 Pa. Code §  4.51c (relating to project-based assessment); and 22 Pa. Code §  11.7 (relating to religious objections).



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