How much should parents be involved in school curricula?
There have been efforts in 36 states to restrict education on racism and the contributions of specific ethnic groups to U.S. history. While legislation on what has broadly been called “Critical Race Theory” — as in teaching about race and racism, not the specific academic discipline — while supposedly anti-CRT legislation passed last year in several states, the latest approach lies in arguing for what advocates call “curriculum transparency.” A trio of bills in Illinois would increase parental access to what’s being taught in Illinois schools by requiring teachers to do things like post their lesson plans online. This is just one of many rallying cries on the right to exert more control over — or make “transparent” — what’s happening in the classroom.
Advocates say this language — emphasizing the word “transparency” — builds on a culture of mistrust, intended to lead parents into thinking something untoward is going on in their kids schools. Others argue that ideas like these are a way to dissuade teachers from frank lessons on race, gender, sexuality, and religion. The 21st was joined by a two journalists who've been following the story and a professor of information science.
Samantha Smylie (they/she)
State Education Reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago
Carol Tilley (she/they)
Professor of Information Science, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
Peter Hancock (he/him)
Statehouse reporter, Capitol News Illinois
Prepared for web by Owen Henderson
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