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Allegations of Curriculum Deficiencies

Professional employees, commissioned officers, parents of students, and other residents of a school entity (as defined in 22 Pa. Code § 4.3) may submit complaints containing allegations of curriculum deficiencies to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Secretary of Education (Secretary).  PDE will not accept or process anonymous complaints and may share complaints with respective school entities.  Complainants should provide PDE with their email addresses, if any, as email is PDE’s preferred method of contact.   
 
Upon receipt, the Secretary will forward the allegations to appropriate PDE staff members to log and determine whether the allegations are curricular in nature as contemplated by 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4.  Examples of curricular allegations may include a school entity’s failure to provide required instruction in any of the content areas listed in 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4, including, but not limited to: science and technology; environment and ecology; social studies; arts and humanities; career education and work; health, safety and physical education; family and consumer science; mathematics; language arts; and foreign languages.  Examples of non-curricular allegations may relate to a school entity’s staffing, such as guidance counselors and nurses, and facilities, such as building capacity and conditions.  PDE staff members may request additional information from the complainant to determine whether an allegation is curricular in nature. 
 
If the allegations are not curricular in nature, PDE staff members will determine whether the allegations merit referral to an existing complaint procedure within PDE (e.g., special education, gifted education, educator misconduct) and, if so, will make the referral as appropriate.  If the allegations do not merit referral to existing complaint procedures within PDE, then PDE staff members will forward the allegations to the school entity and will take no further action. 
 
If the allegations are curricular in nature, PDE staff members will notify the school entity of the allegations and will investigate the allegations to determine whether a curriculum deficiency exists based on the curricular requirements set forth in 22 Pa. Code Ch. 4.  As part of the investigation, PDE may require the school entity to respond to the allegations and may contact the complainant.  If PDE staff members determine that a curriculum deficiency does not exist, PDE staff members will notify the school entity and will take no further action.  If PDE staff members determine that a curriculum deficiency does exist, PDE staff members will notify the school entity and will require the school entity to submit a plan to correct the deficiency.   
 
PDE will make a good faith effort to perform the actions outlined above in accordance with the following timeline: (1) conduct an investigation within 90 days of a determination that an allegation is curricular; and, (2) determine whether a curriculum deficiency exists within 45 days of the completed investigation.  Depending upon the nature of the curriculum deficiency and the resulting investigation, PDE may take additional time for these steps. 
 
PDE staff members will review the actions taken to correct the deficiency within one year of approval of the corrective action plan.  If PDE staff members determine that the school entity has addressed the curriculum deficiency following this one-year period, PDE staff members will notify the school entity and will close the matter.  If PDE staff members determine that the deficiency still exists following this one-year period, the Secretary will send formal notice of the deficiency to the school entity and will take appropriate action under state law, if necessary. 
 
Subject to the availability of PDE resources and the number and nature of complaints received on any given date, PDE staff members will acknowledge receipt of complaints and notify each complainant of resolution.     
 
The Secretary and/or PDE staff members may consult with the Office of Chief Counsel during this process.  Complainants may contact PDE staff members at any time during this process for a status update. 
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Office of School Services at (717) 783-3750 or RA-PDE-SchoolService@pa.gov