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ACLU Comes Out in Support of Keeping Parents in the Dark on What Their Children Are Learning

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

When it comes to transparency and the fundamental rights of parents to know what's in their children's curriculum, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking a disappointing stance.

On Friday, the ACLU tweeted out an article by Tyler Kingkade with NBC News, "They fought critical race theory. Now they’re focusing on ‘curriculum transparency.’" 

The tweet also claims that "Curriculum transparency bills are just thinly veiled attempts at chilling teachers and students from learning and talking about race and gender in schools."

People were quick to point out that by taking such a position, the ACLU is supporting government secrecy when it comes to what public schools are teaching and how they are potentially indoctrinating students.

Kingkade's article seeks to provide a deep dive long of sorts on transparency bills in states throughout the country, including and especially in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has championed parental rights and opposes Critical Race Theory (CRT). Such legislation makes parents aware of what their children are learning in the classroom by requiring schools to post their materials online

Ultimately, though, the article provides a one-sided view, especially when it comes to what kind of materials parents seek to get rid of:

“People are going to disagree on a lot of these issues,” said Matt Beienburg, the Goldwater Institute’s director of education policy. “Transparency is something I think that at least allows for that conversation to know what is being taught. Everybody should be able to rally around the fact that we shouldn’t be teaching something in secret.”

But teachers, their unions and free speech advocates say the proposals would excessively scrutinize daily classwork and would lead teachers to pre-emptively pull potentially contentious materials to avoid drawing criticism. Parents and legislators have already started campaigns to remove books dealing with race and gender, citing passages they find obscene, after they found out that the books were available in school libraries and classrooms.

Kingkade fails to mention that books parents "find obscene" and that, at least in Fairfax, Virginia, have gone through a back-and-forth battle of whether to remove, deal with pedophilia and graphic depictions of sexual acts in graphic novels. 

While Manhattan Institute fellow and CRT opponent Christopher Rufo's tweets are referenced, much of the commentary mentioned in the article is from Democrats who oppose such transparency and rant and rave using typical talking points like blaming Fox News:

But Democratic legislators pushed back. Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel argued in legislative hearings in October that the proposal was an invitation to “the book burners and the anti-maskers to harass our schools and harass our teachers.”

“This bill isn’t about transparency for parents,” Frankel said at the time. “It’s about bringing the fights that get started on Fox News to the kindergarten classroom near you.”

When it comes to what the ACLU thinks about teaching CRT? It's included in the First Amendment, they claim.

This is hardly the only recent move from the ACLU that would seem antithetical to their very purpose. 

For instance, in September, David Cole and Daniel Mach, their national legal director and director of Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, respectively, penned an opinion piece advocating for vaccine mandates. ACLU tweeted it out from their official account. 

Later that month, they also edited the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on women and abortion, who founded the ACLU Women's Rights Project in 1972, to make the language more gender-neutral. 


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