Local Authority

It is well established that local school boards or districts hold a great deal of authority over the curricula in their schools. Their authority is paramount except when there are overriding federal and state concerns. Otherwise, the local school board has complete discretion to determine what courses to offer, continue, or discontinue. Federal and state governments may impose minimum standards with which local boards must conform, but local boards of education are generally permitted to supplement or expand courses or activities and materials.

The history of litigation with respect to curricula shows that courts rarely interfere with a local board’s authority to select and regulate the curriculum within its jurisdiction. By comparison, there are limits on the relative authority of teachers, students, parents, and the rest of the community. Local school boards have discretion over issues relating to the curriculum that it deems most suitable for students. This extends to the teaching methods that are to be employed and include the books and other educational tools to be used.

Inside Local Authority