Issue


Parental Rights Curriculum Transparency

KEY POINTS

Informed parents and guardians drastically improve educational outcomes, and educational transparency benefits students, parents, guardians, teachers, and administrators alike.

Transparency deters or exposes those who wish to use their government positions to coerce and indoctrinate students with political, social, and sexual ideologies.

School Boards should update their Parental Review Policies to provide digital access to instructional materials, and to require that any additional supplemental material a teacher gives to children that was not part of approved curriculum is placed in a digital folder accessible to parents for review.

RELATED RESOURCES

School Incident Report

Informed parents and guardians drastically improve educational outcomes. Transparency in education benefits students, parents and guardians, teachers, administrators, and in the end, society. Transparency also deters or exposes those who wish to use their government positions to coerce and indoctrinate students with political, social, and sexual ideologies. Even involved parents have been disturbed to discover activist, ideological, and outright sexually explicit material being taught to their children, without their knowledge or consent.

 

Parental Rights to Review Materials in Existing Law

 Pennsylvania and Federal law requires schools to give parents the opportunity to review all instructional materials and have access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved, teacher manuals, films, tapes, supplemental instructional materials, evaluations and assessment techniques. 20 U.S. Code §1232h and 22 Pa Code §4.4. Your local Pennsylvania public school has policies regarding parental rights to review materials. These policies are often found on their website and usually begin at Board Policy 105.

Two Problems with the Status Quo

First, many public schools make it extremely difficult to review materials. There are waiting periods, in person review requirements, and requirements that an employee be taken away from their usual tasks in order to watch a parent review material, among other unnecessarily burdensome limits.

The Pennsylvania legislature passed the Educational Transparency Act in 2021, which would have required that a portion of the materials that parents are entitled to review would be accessible on the district’s website. Parents who don’t have time to go to the school to sit and read would have been able to review the material from their homes. Furthermore, schools would no longer have had to use its employee hours pulling together information and sitting and watching the parents read the materials. Governor Wolf vetoed this common-sense legislation.

The second problem, which the vetoed state legislation did not even address, is that even when all of the hoops are jumped through, a good portion of what is placed before your child WILL NOT BE GIVEN TO YOU to review. This is because teachers often use materials that are not part of curriculum or any approved supplemental materials. Current events, such as the war in Ukraine, may necessitate for instance, that a history teacher assign an article or watch a video about the current event. But this material, or links to internet-based content, is important for parents to be able to review. Yet it is often difficult for parents, board members, and even administrators to know this material even exists. And the opportunity for abuse is unlimited.

School Boards should update their parental review policies to provide digital access to instructional materials, and to require that any additional supplemental material a teacher gives to children which was not part of approved curriculum is immediately placed in a digital folder accessible to parents and administrators for review. If you are a school board member who desires to implement such a policy, we are glad to assist you.

Related Articles

School Incident Report for Parents/Students/Educators

School Incident Report for Parents/Students/Educators

Public Schools are not to be used for taxpayer funded political, sexual, or racist ideological indoctrination. But students, parents, and even educators in Public Schools across Pennsylvania have experienced the overt politicization of the classroom. Activists in...

read more
LifeLine Scholarship Would Expand Education Freedom in PA

LifeLine Scholarship Would Expand Education Freedom in PA

This week, the PA House Education Committee passed a bill that would “put parents and students in the driver’s seat of their education” and help many families achieve academic success, especially in failing public school districts. In Pennsylvania, there is clearly an...

read more
PA Family’s Top 12 Highlights for 2021

PA Family’s Top 12 Highlights for 2021

Thanks to so many who partner with PA Family, this past year has been filled with incredible accomplishments and impactful initiatives. Here's a list of twelve highlights from 2021 that supporters from across Pennsylvania helped make possible: 1. Organized “the...

read more
Thank You for an Incredible Year!

Thank You for an Incredible Year!

The PA Family team has much to be extraordinarily grateful for this year – thanks to you. Through the ExtraGive event this past Friday, we raised nearly $100,000 – our largest year yet! And this was all thanks to you, our generous supporters, who commit to making...

read more
God Belongs In Public Places: Why Religious Freedom Matters

God Belongs In Public Places: Why Religious Freedom Matters

A Conversation with Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel – Independence Law Center Randall Wenger has spent decades defending religious liberty. Whether it’s advising a parent on what to do with a school situation or gaining a religious liberty win for Lancaster County based...

read more