ACLU Comment on Curriculum Transparency Bills

January 27, 2022 9:00 am

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A number of state lawmakers—many of whom have also fought to censor discussions of race and gender in public schools—have begun introducing vague “curriculum transparency laws” that require schools to post lists of all of their teaching materials online, including books, articles and videos.

Below is a comment from Emerson Sykes, staff attorney in the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project in response:

“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. Indeed, transparency is already the norm in many public school systems.

“But 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.

“For example, in Florida, one lawmaker recently introduced legislation that would allow teachers and children to be constantly recorded and surveilled in the classroom for signs of teaching and learning about ‘divisive concepts’ around race and gender. We can keep our communities informed without placing children and their teachers under a microscope.

“We’ve already seen nine states enact classroom censorship bills, and state officials are waging campaigns to remove books from schools that are by and about communities of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. We are actively pursuing litigation to block these laws and policies. All students deserve to receive a high quality and inclusive education, free from censorship or discrimination.”

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