Dan Lennington, Deputy Counsel
The battle over critical race theory (CRT) and related concepts is escalating in school districts across the country. Too many times, however, parents become frustrated with school officials who quibble over the definition of CRT or flat-out deny that CRT is being taught in their schools (when it clearly is). Parents may seek out records from school districts, but not know what to ask for or whether they can afford the public record fees. Even though parents have a right to know what is being taught, finding out what is actually taught can be a challenge.
In a recent report, WILL documented that numerous districts around Wisconsin are in fact teaching CRT or CRT-inspired lessons. Since that report, we’ve seen CRT-inspired lessons and trainings from even more districts. Unfortunately, however, WILL also learned how some school districts obstruct public records requests or charge exorbitant fees. In some cases, school districts charged thousands of dollars of fees just for some electronic copies of CRT materials taught in classrooms.
How can parents defend their right to know what is being taught in schools?
Help is on the way.
Working with Wisconsin legislators, WILL has developed a Classroom Transparency Act. If adopted, this law will require school districts to post instruction materials online for parents and taxpayers. This requirement would go beyond the “official curricula” and require all teaching materials to be posted online.
URGENT: The Classroom Transparency Act will be considered at a public hearing on Wednesday, August 11 at 10am, Wisconsin State Capitol 412 East. Let your voice be heard!
Going further, WILL as created a Parental Rights Notification Form. The goal of this form is to seek transparency from individual teachers. Parents can ask a teacher when divisive concepts are being taught and for information about alternative lessons. The goal of this form is not to object to CRT or CRT-inspired lessons, but simply to learn what is being taught in the classroom. It’s your right to know!
More information about WILL’s Equality Under the Law Project can be found at www.DefendEquality.org, and at the CRT Toolbox here.
If you’d like to seek legal advice from WILL, you may contact a lawyer at this link.