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Think tank unveils new ‘transparency’ proposal for public schools so parents can know exactly what their child is being taught


After a tumultuous year between parents and schools, investigative journalist Christopher Rufo and the Manhattan Institute have released a proposal for state legislatures to implement curriculum transparency legislation.

Quick Facts

“Transparency is a virtue for all of our public institutions, but especially for those with power over children,” Rufo wrote.

The proposal includes a template designed to guide legislators on how to ensure that public schools are sharing with parents and the public exactly what children are being taught in school.

Research shows that greater academic success follows when parents actively engage in their children’s education,” Rufo explained. “To be sure, this doesn’t mean that we should decide the finer points of curricular design by plebiscite; nor does it mean that a minority of objecting parents should dictate school pedagogy. But public schools are institutions created by ‘We the People’ and should be responsive to the input of parents and the broader voting public at the state and local level.”

He added, “While government schools necessarily cannot meet every parent’s demands, parents have a fundamental right, long recognized in law, to guide their children’s education and moral conscience. To exercise those rights, parents need accurate information about the learning materials and activities their kids are encountering in government schools.”

Rufo said that the proposal does not seek to ban any ideologies or control curriculum, only to ensure transparency. They also sought to make the requirement easy for teachers by simply requiring a link.

The template states that the following information should be available in an easily accessible location:

“Openness will not necessarily engender trust. Parents will certainly disagree about pedagogy,” Rufo warns. “There’s no simple way to reconcile all competing perspectives. But the answer to these inevitable disagreements cannot be to hide from parents what’s being taught to their own children.”

This type of legislation is long overdue. Rufo notes that only 11 states have laws regarding parental review of material, but every state should have such a requirement. Frankly, it is hard to comprehend that this is not already a common practice, considering that parents are trusting the education of their children to relative strangers.

Public schools need to realize that they are accountable to the parents, whose tax dollars fund the school and pay their salaries. Parents have a right to know what their children are being taught, rather than to be told to blindly trust the school, if for no other reason than to be able to engage with their child and help them excel academically.

Over the past 18 months, schools have broken trust with parents nationwide by going well beyond traditional academics to unilaterally introduce radical, racialist, and Marxist ideologies to children. The best way to start to regain that trust is for schools to be, at a very minimum, honest and transparent.* *

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