Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Bill to allow parents to review public school curriculum, materials online passes House subcommittee

This sounds like a fantastic idea.

Curriculum Transparency Portal Bill Passes Subcommittee

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 14th) – A bill that would require the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to create a website allowing parents and others to review and comment on curriculum, textbooks, and library materials used at their local schools passed the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Education on Monday.

House Bill 2077 is authored by Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid.

"As the conversation continues to be about what is being taught to children in our public schools, this seemed a commonsense solution," Caldwell said. "Let's make all curriculum and lessons publicly available through a centralized database while lessening the burden on our teachers and our schools."

Caldwell explained to committee members that currently if a parent has a question about a book or material being taught in their child's classroom, the school typically holds a one-on-one meeting with them to answer questions or allow for the review of material. The website created in his legislation would create one place where parents or other community members could see the material being taught by grade level in their local school, and would allow them to comment publicly on the material.

"This is about empowering parents," Caldwell said. "But it in no way dictates what the content should be, and it doesn't change any policies. Schools will still have the freedom to choose what curriculum they select and what books they carry in the library. But that will now be more easily accessible to the public."

The bill specifies that the website created must include an easy-to-use interface for school district employees to upload content. It must also allow for public and private comment by users with real-time processing of comments, reviews, and feedback. Caldwell said it will be up to the OSDE working with schools to determine policies regarding how public comments will be addressed.

HB2077 is now eligible to be considered by the full House A&B Committee.

Chad Caldwell serves District 40 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of Enid in Garfield County.  


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