Updated: May 5, 2021
By: R. Smith & Savanah Pointer
Last week H.B. 755: Academic Transparency was filed by the General Assembly of North Carolina. The bill will require schools to display instructional materials and activities that were used during the prior school year on the schools’ website by July 1st of each year. This would allow the public access to details of the resources employed to educate students, including the textbooks, reading materials, websites, videos and even information disseminated at school assemblies and school events.
Why is this bill necessary:
Representative John Torbett, a major sponsor of the bill told EFA that “Parents play a tremendous role in the intellectual growth of their children and should always have access to what a government-mandated education system is using to educate their children. Providing parents and guardians access to their children’s education materials is right in so many ways.” Torbett’s statement is consistent with EFA's mission of ensuring that all government programs funded by the taxpayer remain transparent. This bill is also a necessity and a step in the right direction towards eliminating radical indoctrination in our schools. At a time where political ideology is displacing rigorous academic-based instruction in our schools, transparency is an essential key to holding schools and educators accountable to taxpayers.
What is happening now:
Currently, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) only mandates that teachers meet broad content standards and they do not provide specific curricular materials like tests and reading materials. Since there is no standardized curriculum, a hodgepodge of varying instructional methods and materials exist in districts and schools across the state. This leaves schools and teachers with extraordinary amounts of discretion regarding educational content and the general public with little to no say-so on what is being taught to students. If transparency is not prioritized, schools and teachers will maintain the ability to exploit this discretion to push ideological or political agendas on our students.
Although transparency alone will not solve the issue of radical indoctrination, it would certainly give the public and parents more information to effectively navigate their children’s education. Sponsors of the bill include Hugh Blackwell, John Torbett, Jon Hardister, and Jeffrey Elmore Ben Moss, Howard Penny, Larry Potts, Dennis Riddell, and Larry Stricklan.
EFA applauds these representatives for proposing a much-needed bill to encourage more transparency in North Carolina’s public education system.