Poll: Parent Input On What Happens In Wyoming Classrooms
How much input should parents have on what goes on in the classrooms of Wyoming schools?
A bill drafted by a couple of influential Wyoming lawmakers for the 2022 session would force school districts to publish the district civics curriculum on the district website so that parents could see what is being taught ahead of time
The Civics Transparency Act is aimed at preventing the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Wyoming classrooms
The bill is sponsored by Wyoming Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill [R-Devils Tower], and co-sponsored by Senate President Dan Dockstader [R-Lincoln, Teton, and Sublette counties].
Driskill says the bill would "give parents the tools to know what is being taught in their children's classrooms." The legislation would require that "civics curriculum and materials would be published on school district websites so that parents and taxpayers could review them before the school year begins."
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, who has been an outspoken opponent of Critical Race Theory in the classroom, has also come out in favor of the legislation.
But while it's not clear that Critical Race Theory is currently being taught in Wyoming schools, that certainly is not the only issue on which many parents have questioned school policy in Wyoming over the past year or so. The debate over face mask mandates and overall policy on the COVID 19 pandemic has also at times pitted at least some Wyoming parents against policies implemented by school boards across the state.
In Laramie County School District #1, among others, the school board was accused by some parents of ignoring prevailing public opinion on the issue. But even if that is true, does parental opinion trump the advice of medical professionals when kids--and teachers--lives may be at stake?
The issue came to the forefront nationally recently when Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said during a debate that he doesn’t believe “parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” according to the Associated Press and several other media outlets. That comment may have contributed to McAuliffe's defeat in Tuesday's election, according to many observers.
Obviously, it's not practical to have parents vote on each and every educational and school safety issue. And it's not a given that parents who make their views known at school board meetings automatically represent the majority opinion among all parents on any particular issue.
But just as a general philosophical question--how much influence do you think parents should have on what happens in Wyoming schools and classrooms?