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Colorado lawmaker aims to bring more transparency to education

Bill that would have required curriculum to be posted online fails in 6-3 vote
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Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 23:53:13-05

DENVER — Around the country, parents are demanding more say in their children’s education, and lawmakers are responding by turning their concerns into legislation.

A bill introduced in Colorado’s General Assembly would require schools to post more information online. The sponsor, Republican Rep. Tim Geitner, R-Falcon, said it’s about transparency.

“Right now, what you’re seeing is there’s a desire for parents to fully understand what curriculum is being taught at their schools,” Geitner said.

HB22-1066 would require all Colorado school districts to post information on their websites, including all text books and materials used in classrooms, any surveys given to children in schools and a list of professional development courses for teachers.

Geitner says that information can be difficult and even costly to access.

“Sometimes you have to submit a [Colorado Open Records Act] request, sometimes there’s a cost associated with that for the family, and the purpose of this bill is to make it easily accessible,” he said.

Last fall, one of the school districts in Geitner's district, School District 49 in Falcon, became the first in Colorado to explicitly ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory. In other states where “transparency” measures are under consideration, teachers have expressed concerns about censorship and losing their professional independence.

Geitner said many Colorado schools already have to follow rules about teaching controversial subjects and that his bill is about giving parents access to information that helps them make the best choice for their child. He said the bill is a requirement for districts and should not place additional burdens on teachers.

Denver Public Schools sent the following statement to Denver7:

“The majority of our district-managed schools use the district supported curriculum, so we would be able to share that via our district wide platforms. Some of our schools do not use all of our district supported materials to better align to their instructional program and we would have to navigate collecting and sharing the local individual curricular resources made at the school level.”

UPDATE: The bill did not make it out of the Education Committee in the Colorado House of Representatives following a 6-3 vote.