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Transparency or abuse? N.C. bill would require teachers to post what's taught.
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Transparency or abuse? N.C. bill would require teachers to post what's taught.

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RALEIGH — Republican lawmakers who are concerned about what students are being taught in class could require schools to post online what materials their teachers are using.

The state House passed the “Academic Transparency” bill on Wednesday. It would require school districts and charter schools with 400 or more students to list online what instructional materials they used in the past school year.

Some GOP lawmakers say they feel the legislation is necessary because parents are concerned about what their children are learning.

“This will help the parents going to the next grade be able to look and see what that teacher taught the year before,” state Rep. Jeff McNeely, an Iredell County Republican, said at Tuesday’s House Education Committee meeting. “We’re not going to try to indoctrinate them or teach them in a certain way to make them believe something other than the facts, the knowledge, the ability to write, the ability to read.”

House Bill 755 was passed on a 66-50 vote, with all but one Republican in support and all Democrats in opposition.

“We have to be very careful when trying to micromanage for no reason, because that’s what this is,” said Rep. Kandie Smith, a Pitt County Democrat.

The bill now goes to the Senate. The North Carolina Association of Educators called the legislation “teacher abuse” and urged people to sign a letter asking the Senate not to pass the bill.

The legislation comes at a time when conservatives have grown increasingly suspicious about what is being taught in public schools. Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson of Greensboro created a task force to collect complaints from parents, students and teachers in public schools across the state about “indoctrination” in the classroom.

Under the legislation, schools would be required to post on their website what lesson plans were used by teachers. This would include any material used for instruction, including all textbooks and videos.

Schools would also have to post information on each event and activity that took place outside teacher’s classrooms during school hours. Required information would include a list of each person who spoke, what organization they represented and what instructional materials were presented.

Schools wouldn’t be required to post copyrighted material online. But they’d be expected to post enough details that parents could see what was used.

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, a Burke County Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor, said the bill will help promote parental involvement.

“The idea is to make a way for parents, without having to go to the schoolhouse, without having to go to school officials, to be able to go online and see what is being offered in their students’ classes,” Blackwell said Wednesday.

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