The governor is wrong – schools should be more transparent | News, Sports, Jobs
Gov. Tom Wolf was wrong to veto a bill requiring school districts to post information about textbooks and course materials online.
Efforts to educate parents and taxpayers about required reading in Pennsylvania schools are not, as Wolf said in an article in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette Thursday, “a thinly veiled attempt to restrict truthful instruction and censor content reflecting diverse cultures, identities and experiences.”
It is of course possible – perhaps even likely – that some residents of certain school districts will use the proposed accountability measure to pressure or pressure school boards to block certain books.
It is their right.
Although we suspect in the vast majority of cases that this may be happening, we will not agree with these parents and will encourage educators and other parents to make the strong and necessary arguments for continuing to include the books or the reading material in question, we must recognize several truths.
First, transparency in what public schools teach does not mean dropping out of a lesson or a book. These are two very different debates.
Second, resistance to transparency will not prevent any school district from being pressured to change the curriculum or remove certain books. On the contrary, it gives credence to the idea that the curriculum or compulsory reading is hidden because its inclusion cannot be easily defended.
As we editorialized in early October when this bill was passed by the State House Education Committee, we were hoping the proposal “Would help allay fears and rumors about what is included in the curricula of our local school districts.” We believe that greater transparency would allow community members to contribute more constructively to school board meetings.
Which brings us to a third truth: In a system where education is publicly funded, parents and taxpayers have the right to debate the merits of the program and the books that are part of that program and the school districts. have an obligation to be open with what the study program entails.
Even if that means some parents will be arguing for changes that educators, the editors of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette or Governor Tom Wolf disagree with.