North Dakota proposed rule creates academic transparency on CRT

A proposed change to North Dakota’s administrative rules would require school boards to adopt a policy that makes instructional materials publicly accessible to ensure Critical Race Theory is not being taught.

Current North Dakota state law prohibits a public school from including instruction related to Critical Race Theory in its required curriculum, but a local policy on curriculum review adds a necessary layer of academic transparency and accountability.

The proposal to create NDAC 67-32-01 “Local Policy for Curriculum Review” directs districts to adopt a policy related to Critical Race Theory (as defined by state law). This policy must:

  • Allow curriculum, resources, and instructional materials to be made available for public viewing upon request, and include the timeline involved in viewing materials;
  • Include the process or mechanism for curriculum, resources, and instructional materials to be viewed by the public;
  • Include the process for addressing issues that violate North Dakota’s anti-CRT law;
  • State that the school board shall ensure district-led or district-sponsored professional development compliant with North Dakota’s anti-CRT law.

Public hearing & comment period

A public hearing on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. in Bismarck will address this proposed rule creation along with proposed amendments to rules on alternative education programs and accreditation procedures, standards, and criteria.

Following the Sept. 8 hearing, a 10-day public comment period on the administrative rule changes will open. The public can submit written and oral comments on these changes until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19.

Parents, know your rights

Current North Dakota school district policy allows the public to submit a request for reconsideration of and complaints about instructional and resource material considered: not educationally suitable, not age-appropriate, pervasively vulgar, and/or part of a curriculum that forces students to profess or deny a belief in what they are reading or engage or refrain from engaging in a practice contrary to their religious belief.

Minnesota has similar state law in place as North Dakota’s proposed curriculum review rule, although not CRT-specific, that requires districts to have a procedure for a parent to review the content of the instructional materials provided to their child and, if the parent objects to the content, make “reasonable arrangements” with school personnel for alternative instruction.