With the start of the midterm cycle just days away, the fight over education continues across America as Republican state lawmakers push to require classroom materials posted online, while Democrats try to keep parents in the dark.

Republicans are also seeking to enshrine acknowledgements of parental rights into state law with parental bills of rights.

Debates over curriculum transparency raged last year, as parents became aware that their children were being exposed to critical race and gender theories at very young ages, sowing racial division and sexual confusion among America’s young people.

Many attempts to uncover more of what children were learning were met with noncompliance from school districts or cost-prohibitive, penalizing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In response, Republicans have been putting forth bills to make curriculums readily accessible to parents.

Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor that “American parents are speaking out. … The fact that woke bureaucrats are this terrified by transparency proves exactly why parents deserve it.”

Alaska lawmakers introduced a bill requiring its school districts to make curriculum materials public by posting them online.

The bill, one of several education bills being looked at in Alaska this session, was introduced by state Rep. Ron Gillham (R), who said he wants to make education the focus of this session, according to KTOO.

Like many curriculum transparency bills, some teachers are worried the measures will lead to “censorship.” Gillham, though, sees the bills as ways to make the education of children more accessible to parents.

“If they’re trying to keep you from seeing what it is, that tells me you are trying to hide something,” he said. “They may not be, but that is kind of in the back of my mind.”

Another of Gillham’s proposals would allow public funding to support students who are homeschooled or in private school and allow for annual scholarships of up to $5,930 for students in underperforming schools, those with disabilities, or those with parents in the military.

Gillham also introduced a bill that would bar the central tenets of critical race theory and not allow students to be taught that some are inherently “racist, sexist, or oppressive” because of their skin color or gender. Similarly, the Alaska Republican is planning on writing a “character development program” bill that would highlight the value of patriotism, responsibility, and racial and religious tolerance.

The Alaska chapter of the National Education Association, a prominent teachers’ union, is not happy with Gillham’s proposals, however.

“The education reform package proposed by Rep. Gillham does not address the urgent needs I’m hearing from Alaska educators or the students they serve,” chapter head Tom Klaaymeyer said. “NEA-Alaska is eager to work with any and all parties to improve educational achievement and student learning. Unfortunately, this package of bills does not appear to be productive, practical, or a strategic investment in our public education system.”

Michigan and Ohio have similar curriculum transparency bills and are being met with opposition from teachers’ unions and establishment media.

Michigan’s bill, for example, requires the posting of the entire school year’s curriculum, along with field trips and other activities, before the year begins and threatens a loss of five percent of district funding for those that do not comply.

Chalkboard Detroit addressed the concerns about school curriculums by lying about critical race theory, saying the indoctrination scheme is an “academic framework that examines the lingering effects of slavery and ingrained culture of racism” and “it is not taught in Michigan schools.”

“In recent months,” the outlet argues, “CRT concerns have morphed into broader objections to discussions of race or diversity in the classroom.”

One co-sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R), said, “Parents want more information, and a lot of districts are pushing back. … I think there should be as much transparency as possible in education. It makes people comfortable (when they) get their questions answered.”

But Michigan Board of Education Vice President Pamela Pugh, a Democrat, said of the bill that “There’s more than meets the eye at the root of these divisive, manufactured, chaotic bills that are being proposed. It’s scare tactics and intimidation meant to cause mass chaos, mass confusion, and disruption to our education system.”

In addition, a fifth grade teacher, Ingrid Fournier of Ludington Public Schools, said she is “frightened,” complaining of “more hoops to jump through.”

“We’ve been trained. Our best interest is your child’s success. We’re not the enemy,” she insisted. “Where is the trust? Just trust us.”

Ohio’s similar bill has been met with opposition as well, with Toledo high school English teacher Katie Peters saying, “It makes me a little defensive, because I’m like – no, wait a minute, we’re not hiding anything. The transparency is always there, and the parents who have cared to look have always had access.”

Many parents and Republicans, however, believe that if the transparency is “always there” then having a statutory requirement should not make a difference — and therefore should not be met with such hostility.

Of these types of bills, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Christopher Rufo said the strategy is quite clear. “The strategy here is to use a non-threatening, liberal value – ‘transparency’ – to force ideological actors to undergo public scrutiny,” he said, saying they will “give parents a powerful check on bureaucratic power.”

But Democrats and their allies are fighting hard to make sure these bills do not pass in order to keep parents in the dark about what their children are learning.

Already, Democrat governors in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have vetoed versions of the bill in their respective states — but the fight against transparency is much more involved than simple vetoes.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is parroting Democrat talking points, saying bills that allow parents to see what their children are learning in schools are merely “thinly veiled attempts at chilling teachers and students from learning and talking about race and gender in schools.” The ACLU says it is “actively pursuing litigation to block” the bills.

“Good schools and good school districts have always had curriculum transparency — including extensive two-way communication between parents and educators on what we are teaching and how to support our kids,” Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers — the nation’s largest teachers’ union said. “Pretending otherwise is just the latest attempt by Chris Rufo and others to exploit the frustration of Covid to create a toxic environment where the biggest losers are children and their recovery.”

Weingarten, who claims to care about the wellbeing of children, has used her organization as a driving force behind keeping schools closed and children masked, despite the ample and growing evidence that both have been absolutely detrimental for the social and educational development of children as well as their mental health. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation have all skyrocketed among children, as well as learning loss and underdeveloped speaking, reading, and writing capabilities.

The left-wing news media has also been deployed to attack curriculum transparency.

In a Daily Beast article titled “Big Brother Is Headed for the Classroom,” adorned with the subtitle “Transparency or Trap?” argues that Republicans are enforcing “gag orders” on teachers and trying to “ban books.”

“Don’t be fooled by the neutral-sounding language,” the opinion article by Jonathan Friedman said. “By any other name, this is an effort to monitor teachers that echoes the worst urges of McCarthyism and feels like Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life.”

Republicans argue that they are merely looking to grant parents easier access to school curriculums so as to bypass unruly school districts and expensive FOIA hurdles.

Texas, Utah, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, and Virginia are among the many other states with curriculum transparency bills being considered.

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