Ohio Lawmaker Wants Parents to Know What’s Being Taught In Schools

by J.D. Davidson


Ohio schools would be required to tell parents nearly everything about their child’s education, rather than only when asked, if proposed legislation becomes law.

Rep. Brett Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville, said talks of what children are being taught in schools around the country have turned into heated debate, and he believes parents want to be engaged in what their children should and should not be taught in Ohio classrooms.

“The Education Transparency Act ensures exactly that, transparency,” Hillyer said. “The purpose of the bill is to better equip parents to be engaged in their child’s education experience by giving them the transparency they have been clamoring for.”

The proposed legislation would ensure all curricula and syllabi, including assignments, assemblies and materials,  are made accessible through a school’s website.

Current law requires that information to be made available to parents upon request through the state’s public records law.

“Information holds extreme value,” Hillyer said. “By making the information about a child’s education readily available it is my hope that greater participation by parents or guardians in a child’s educational process will improve their learning experience.”

Parents gaining more knowledge of school curriculum and wanting more control over what their children are exposed to in public schools began to grow earlier this year, when concepts such as mask and vaccination mandates and critical race theory often led to confrontations at school board meetings around the country.

A report emerged in November that showed the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division “tagged” parents who were said to have harassed school board members as threats, and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, questioning the “accuracy and completeness of [his] sworn testimony” before Congress earlier this year regarding the FBI targeting parents.

Ohio state lawmakers also have introduced two bills that would stop schools from teaching what sponsors called “divisive concepts” in the classroom. Each prohibits teaching ideas that are part of the nationwide critical race theory movement critics said purports the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country.

The theory is centered around the idea race is a social construct used to oppress people of color. It was developed by legal scholars in the late 1970s and 1980s and concludes racism in America is systemic. Critical race theory gained new notoriety in response to the 1619 Project, a New York Times multimedia piece that connects slavery to capitalism.

The issue of parent control over education came to head in the fall, when Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said in a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

That statement helped Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeat McAuliffe in November.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist at The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Brett Hillyer” by Brett Hillyer for State Representative. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.






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