See Alaska’s Proposed Curriculum Transparency Law

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | 3 months ago

curriculum

Curriculum transparency is a concerning topic for schools and parents. Public schools are facing staffing shortages and low enrollment due to many different factors. They also suffer more scrutiny than ever as parents and school boards have clashed in recent years. As controversial teaching practices that range from allowing pornographic books into public school libraries and teaching middle school students about masturbation to Critical Race Theory or similar culturally relevant teaching practices are being pressed on staff and students, parents have grown more concerned about what their children are learning. Now, Alaska is joining the growing list of states proposing new legislation to bring more transparency to public schools.

Progressive movements push to implement their teaching ideologies in public school classrooms. Individual teachers and even principals have taken it upon themselves to go as far as to impress their political beliefs on children. Whether encouraging confused children to identify as trans, or making them pledge to the pride flag, these practices have led to much distrust between schools and families. Parents are demanding curriculum transparency, and some state lawmakers are not only taking note, but they are also taking action.

Alaska State Senator, Lora Reinbold, introduced Senate Bill NO.196 to ensure that all public and charter schools make their training, curriculum, and other teaching materials available for public access.  This is explicitly so for training materials that deal with identity politics and also goes on to further ensure that all school procedures are made available as well. Any materials being used must list who wrote it and where it came from so parents are aware of exactly what sort of organizations and figures hold sway over the school curriculum. All of these materials must be displayed for a period of at least 2 years after use before they can be removed or replaced. 

In addition, this proposed curriculum transparency legislation bans teachers and other staff from offering students extra credit or adjusted grades for “political activism,” “lobbying,” and other methods of attempting to persuade political officials to affect social or political change. All throughout the bill, it is clear that identity should not be utilized for hiring purposes, classroom practices, selecting public speakers, and so on. In essence, the schools will be required to focus on providing standard education to all students from staff and guests who are incorporated with the school based on credentials instead of political affiliation, color, race, heritage, sex, gender, and other varying identity markers.

curriculum

Alaska joins many other states working to pass specific laws focused on providing curriculum transparency. The concept is mainly accepted by parents and students, yet certain organizations like the ACLU oppose these efforts. The ACLU claims that these measures are working at “chilling students and teachers” away from discussing sensitive identity politics topics, but nowhere in any of this proposed bill does it state that students and teachers are not allowed to discuss these subjects at all. It merely addresses the fact that parents wish to know what their children are learning so they are privy to the lessons.

If public schools believe that they are properly teaching appropriate subjects, parents wish to know why these districts are so adamantly hiding their curriculum. Alaska’s transparency law will offer families the ability to better aid their children with their schoolwork, instead of being left in the dark. The public education system was built to serve the needs of these families, and those needs include an ability to trust that children are being offered a proper education free from political bias and harmful rhetoric. Alaska lawmakers have now recognized that and wish to ensure it.