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The ACLU comes out in opposition to education transparency laws, choosing government secrecy over parental rights


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) surprised some by opposing transparency laws that require schools to post teaching materials online.

Quick Facts

Transparency laws have been introduced due to parents’ concerns over schools teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) and white privilege, LGBT and transgender-affirming policies, sexually explicit material, the idea that America is a bad nation founded on racism and sexism, and other radical content.

These laws are the result of parents’ beliefs that schools are hiding teaching material in order to indoctrinate students. 

Emerson Sykes, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said, “Government bodies should always strive for transparency, and the ACLU supports any good-faith effort to make public education as transparent as possible to parents and communities.”

However, he added, “some of these so-called ‘curriculum transparency bills’ are thinly veiled attempts at chilling teachers and students from learning and talking about race and gender in schools. Their sponsors have said as much.”

Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla, said, “For the ACLU to come out against transparency, it’s absurd. It just discredits the organization itself.”

She continued,

“First Amendment protections protect citizen speech from government censorship. A public school, that’s a government institution. In the classroom, teachers have to teach what the curriculum says; they’re not allowed to bring their own personal opinions and activism into the classroom….The idea that the ACLU is trying to protect the First Amendment rights for the government makes no sense.”

Laura Zorc, director of education reform at Building Education for Students Together (BEST), said, “When groups like the ACLU attack such legislation, they are showing their cards — they believe nameless, faceless education bureaucrats should be the arbiters of truth for our kids, rather than the family members who know and care for them.”

Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, who notes that his own children have been exposed to privilege material at school, said, “The laws passed in states like Pennsylvania are not CRT prohibitions but mandates to post teaching materials, syllabi, and scholastic achievement information online. It is a level of transparency that is common in college and graduate schools, including my own classes.”

He added, 

Greater transparency on public education (like other government programs) would seem a good thing. In the category of ‘perfecting democracy,’ information is generally a good thing. That is why we have freedom of information acts on the federal and state levels. Yet, school districts and teachers have opposed such FOIA requests in court. As a result, parents face barriers in obtaining information needed not just in making decisions about their children’s education but also in making decisions as voters. School boards are elected by the voters who have a right and a need for such information. For those who commonly decry attacks on democracy, this is an effort that facilitates the democratic process. Parents have a say in how their public schools are run, which is why these boards positions are subject to elections.

Parents and the traditional family unit are being undermined by teachers and leftist activists who think they should have total control of children’s minds and values. This isn’t speculation — increasingly, they’re more than willing to come right out and say it.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of the debunked 1619 Project, said, “I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught. I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science. We send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people who have expertise in the subject area.”

That’s some irony. She admits she’s not a professional educator and has no degree in social studies or science, but her wholly discredited 1619 Project has been embraced by teachers and is being taught as gospel fact in schools, along with absurd theories like CRT and gender identity.

That is exactly why parents should know and have a say about what is taught in schools, particularly if what is taught goes outside traditional pedagogy.

These bills, however, aren’t even giving parents that level of power, only requiring that schools show parents exactly what they are teaching. So why are schools so resistant to showing parents what their children are being taught?

Schools are funded by parents and public schools are run by the government. Schools are entrusted with the education and care of other people’s children several hours a day. Children spend more time at school than they do interacting with parents much of the year. Frankly, it is incomprehensible that schools have been allowed to operate with so little oversight by parents for this long. It’s even more incomprehensible that a civil rights organization like the ACLU, which is supposed to protect citizens against government secrecy and malfeasance, would come out against a measure designed to ensure transparency and accountability.

Schools broke the trust of parents when they got caught indoctrinating children with leftist ideology. Through all the denials, evidence routinely comes to light showing that educators intentionally promoted the agendas of race dividers, LGBT activists, and others to children and teens.

The consequences are that schools must now be transparent, a small price to pay. If schools don’t want to show parents what their children are learning, then parents are left to assume the worst. Transparency bills are the new way forward if the public school system is to survive.

It’s time that the ACLU, which supposedly stands for liberty and government accountability, gets on board.

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