You would think that the question, should Michigan schools post all of their class material online, would be a no-brainer. You would be wrong. Teachers, politicians, unions and their protective media have all circled the wagons and believe that what they teach to our children should not be easy to find.
I found it very interesting and telling when I read an Associated Press headline that read “GOP pushes U.S. schools to post all class materials online”. The interest comes from the headline informing us that only Republican state lawmakers are the ones pushing for transparency in our public schools. Telling, because they did no report that the Democrat politicians are concerned about transparency when it comes to what our children are taught in our public schools.
What would anyone have against transparency in our public schools? I could not think of one good reason to not put all classroom materials online.
Teachers, unions, and others do have their reasons although they are a bit difficult to understand. Teachers say that the parents already have access to what their children learn, really where is that? Yes, they have access to the books that the children are allowed to take home but what about the teaching materials used within the classroom? So often these days we find that the teachers are actually teaching very little of what they are supposed to be teaching and quite a bit of what they are not supposed to be teaching.
The AP article spoke to a high school English teacher in Toledo by the name of Katie Peters who said:
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.
Why would you be defensive at all? Most people become defensive when they feel they have something to hide or are embarrassed to allow people to see that which they are defensive about.
A Republican state representative in Ohio, Brett Hillyer, said “I don’t think anybody disagrees that more information is better for parents".
Well, Brett, there are plenty of people who unfortunately want parents to have less information when it comes to what is taught to their children. In the article, they wrote, “educators don’t take issue with keeping parents informed, but they see a risk that the so-called curriculum-transparency requirements will invite censorship, professional burnout and resignations”. If you truly believe in what you are teaching then you should never be concerned with censorship. Exactly how would being more transparent to parents create professional burnout which then would relate to resignations.
There are teachers in Ohio who say the Republican efforts “could ultimately erode their ability to make professional judgments and stifle the spontaneity that brings their classrooms to life, while adding to workloads that have already taken a serious toll on school staffing”. A middle school science and critical thinking teacher Robert Estice said:
I’m worried it’s sort of a Trojan horse to get into the classroom to pick through what they see and point us in different directions or stop us from doing things
Parents for years have been dealing with the Trojan horses that teachers, administrations and their unions have been letting allowed into the classroom. The president of Ohio’s largest teachers’ union, Scott DiMauro said teachers have told him they:
felt caught up in a culture war that they didn’t create”
Really, they have not created this culture war, Scott have you ever heard about teachers teaching equity and not equality, how about social justice instead of reading writing and arithmetic. I could go on but I do not want to embarrass Scott anymore than he has embarrassed himself.
The AP is reporting that Michigan lawmakers are considering some legislation dealing with transparency issues. I have not heard of any, let us hope they are.
Michigan State Representative Gary Eisen has introduced HB 5722 - Curriculum, Instruction and Materials Transparency Posting:
Sec. 99d. (1) A district that does not comply with the requirement under this subsection is subject to subsection (2). By not later than the first day of the school year, a district shall make all of the following information available to the public:
(a) The curriculum approved by the district for each school operated by the district.
(b) Each class offered to pupils of the district as part of the curriculum described above.
(c) Textbooks, literature, research projects, writing assignments, and field trips that are part of the curriculum described above.
(d) Extracurricular activities being implemented during designated school hours or under the authority of the school.
(e) A list of each certificated teacher or other individual authorized under state law to teach in this state who is charged with implementing the curriculum described above.
(2) If a district does not comply with the requirements outlined above, it would forfeit 5% of its state aid payments.
Let us see what will become of this piece of legislation and who will vote for it.