September 22 – Senate Bill 340 from Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano will help parents see what textbooks are used in schools.
The curriculum will be posted online to make it easy to access.
The bill would allow school districts, intermediate units, career and technical schools, charter schools and cyber charter schools to post online an internet link or the title of every textbook used to teach students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “I can already hear a keyboard warrior or two going if you want to see this stuff, of course, it’s all transparent. You can go into the office and you can get the curriculum and you can take a look at the textbooks. It doesn’t have any chance here of signing into law of course with Shapiro and his lips firmly placed upon the fanny of the teachers unions. The hell with your kids. Shapiro went to a private school and his kids go to private schools, but your kids be damned.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “We need to ask (our local school board members) about this. We need to ask if they agree that there should be transparency with what teachers are teaching kids? It’s a huge issue across the country.”
What about the fact that the information is in offices?
Jansen contended, “Most parents do not have the time and wherewithal to spend a few hours perusing, making the appointment, going in, having the stuff out. You don’t even know if you’re getting everything. If everything’s online, and all it takes is a few clicks to look at something, we can keep accountability in the classroom. The national report cards are showing that our public schools are failing. We know there’s these controversial issues potentially being taught to children. I think this is the time that parents should demand transparency like this.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll agreed, “I think transparency, more transparency at any level of government is always a good thing. This information, at least in theory, is publicly available, but no parent is going to have the time to go into the central office, sit for hours reviewing the textbook. I imagine that’s part of Doug’s argument for this bill. Why not just put it online, make it easier for everyone to examine it?”
The bill could make it through the PA Senate.
Barkdoll said, “I don’t know what will happen to it in the House. It’s unlikely it becomes law, but there’s merit to this. Some other states have apparently gone to this. I’ve not seen any feedback good or bad on what’s happened in those other states. But to me, bottom line, more transparency at any level is always a good thing.”
PA Representative Jesse Topper said, “More transparency is always better. We had a similar bill pass the House last session and I think anything we can do to make it easier. That’s all we’re talking about. All this stuff is available as you go through, Right to Know, but you shouldn’t have to do that. You have your children, your grandchildren in the school, you’re the caregiver, you’re responsible, and most school districts have a very good relationship with their parents. And if you don’t, then you need to look in the mirror because the people who are sending their children and their grandchildren to your institution for your care and they deserve to see what you’re teaching. You’re having a lot of examples of that right now in Bucks County, the school board meetings that are getting absolutely out of control. That’s where a lot of it comes from. It comes from parents feeling they’re being cut out of a loop and it leads to escalating circumstances. That’s what I’ve told the school boards as well and the school districts. This is a way to actually keep the relationship good so you don’t have these blow ups that make national news.”
Jansen said, “You would think the teachers unions and all these school districts would be very anxious to do something to restore that trust, because the trust is really key and important.”
Overall, students in schools in the country are falling farther and farther behind.
A recent Right to Know request from a non-profit organization looked into Baltimore city schools, seeking information on 13 high schools, including thousands of students.
None of the students in the schools passed the math proficiency standardized test. That’s not a joke. Not one of them passed.
Barkdoll said, “Baltimore City Schools got over $1.6 billion last year in tax money. That’s an all time record. They got another $800 million from the federal government in COVID money and this group is pointing out we’ve got a crisis here and you wonder what they’re reporting from Baltimore, what they would find in cities all over the country? It’s a big problem.”
Jansen noted, “Remember, those nationals report cards on public schools in 2019 were not great. You can blame COVID for a nice chunk of this, but our schools were failing even before that, for so many students, so let’s try to keep that in mind.”
Ryan asked, “I wonder when you will have had enough? The failing lawmakers who call it a day early. They go on these wonderful recesses. Then we’ve got schools that are failing you and you continue to have your money extorted out of your pocket and throwing it to Ukraine, the southern border. At what point will America have had quite enough of this? I don’t know.”
Barkdoll said, “Here’s almost two and a half billion dollars that Baltimore City Schools got last year. It’s just remarkable, not one student out of thousands that they looked at was proficient in math. Think about the long term problems that creates. These students are likely going to have all sorts of problems, if they even graduate, that the public will be supporting in one way or another.”
“I bet they’ve got great DEI initiatives going on there,” Jansen guessed. “I bet they’re great at that.”