Pa. lawmakers approve ‘school transparency’ bill; teachers oppose

Regional News

REGIONAL (WTAJ) – State lawmakers recently approved a school transparency bill that would require schools across the commonwealth to make their curriculum publicly available online. The proposed House Bill 1332 now heads to the Senate, after passing on a 110-89 vote.

If passed, the bill would require public schools across Pennsylvania to make curriculum, academic standards, materials, and assessment techniques to be available online. Every course required by the school would be made publicly available, and as the curriculum is adjusted throughout the year, so must the information that’s publicly available within 30 business days.

The bill is being met by a heavy backlash from teachers, who say it is an attack on them. They fear this added load could take away from focusing on their student’s development, as well as putting them under more stress, as they already face long days of planning.

“It’s an attack on teachers,” said Bo Pennington, a teacher and union president at the Curwensville Area School District. “We already have so many tasks that we are required to do that are not teaching duties”

“Anytime a parent wants to know what we are doing in the classroom they can contact us,” he added.

House Bill 1332 would go into effect starting with the 2022-23 school year. Its prime sponsor, Republican representative Andrew Lewis said the bill would ensure that parents can always see what their kids are learning in school. But Chris Lilienthal, the assistant director of communications at the Pennsylvania State Education Association fears putting this information out to the public could lead to public backlash or political motivation.

(WTAJ has reached out to Rep. Lewis for comment but has not received a response at this time.)

“It adds a layer of administrative work on top of what teachers are doing right now and it’s a tremendous amount of work. And we want to make sure the teachers are not being distracted from what’s most important, and that is working with their students and making sure that they have what they need academically,” Lilienthal said.

“Certain people, perhaps even outside the state of Pennsylvania are able to access curriculum information and use it as it means harass our teachers or school principles,” he added.

Next, the legislation heads to the Senate where it will have to be considered three times before it gets sent to the Governor’s office, where he can either veto the bill or sign it into law.

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