Union leader explains teachers’ opposition to ‘transparency bill’

A measure claiming to bring more transparency to public schools is moving through the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 10:23 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A measure claiming to bring more transparency to public schools is moving through the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. But many educators are not in favor.

The Kansas House Committee on Thursday approved House Bill 2662, called the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” that, among other things, would require public school teachers to start posting their lesson plans online ahead of the next school year.

Teachers opposed to the proposal have been vocal in expressing their concerns. United Teachers of Wichita President Brent Lewis said teachers and the schools at which they work are already transparent. Lewis teaches in Wichita Public Schools the largest district in the state.

“We welcomed conversation about activities in our schools for as long as I’ve been a teacher,” Lewis said. “Our school district welcomes those who want to review curriculum materials. They’re always welcome to do so. All of our standards are on full display online.”

Lewis said this week in Topeka was a chance for him to share his point of view with lawmakers. He said many fellow educators believe the proposed legislation is unnecessary and hurts children more than it helps.

“This is to create a one-size-fits-all programming for our students so that we can lay out all our plans before we’ve even met our students and understand their individual needs,” Lewis said.

State representative and committee chair Kristy Williams supports the measure and the way in which it helps parents stay involved. She said if the curriculum is already online and made available to parents, she doesn’t see why the measure would be an issue.

“This does not even require lesson plans; it requires that the school district – and that would include teachers and administrators – include the curriculum and textbooks, any activities that are being used,” Williams said. “And I think it’s important. Parents are at this place in history where they want to know more, and I can’t imagine anybody being against parents having the information they want.”

Williams also said the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” isn’t targeting matters of race or LGBTQ material but is simply meant to help improve transparency for parents. The bill will go up for consideration before the Full House in the next couple of weeks

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