Schools Must Post Curriculum Online in Bill Moving Through Legislature | Beaufort County Now | The N.C. Senate is now considering the House's bill that would require open access to lessons plans and instructional material being taught in public schools.

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Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.

The board shows House vote on HB755 Academic Transparency on May 5, 2021. | Photo: Carolina Journal

    The N.C. Senate will consider the House's Academic Transparency, House Bill 755, which would require that school systems post all curriculum and lesson plans so that parents and taxpayers can see what is being taught in the state's public schools. The measure passed the House Wednesday, May 5, 66-50, along party lines.

    "The standard course of study does not prescribe the elements that a teacher might use to teach, the teacher develops a lesson plan," said Rep. Blackwell. "What we would like is that the teacher takes the lesson plan that they are developing and put it out there for parents to have a look at it."

    The primary sponsors of the bill are all Republicans; Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston; Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; and Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes. Eight additional Republicans signed on as co-sponsors.

    In the language of the bill, all schools will be required to post the curriculum and lesson plans being taught in the classroom in a prominent location on its website. The bill allows for flexibility in how each school system meets the requirement. It must be easily accessible and organized by grade or subject area, but schools would be allowed to use a template provided by the state Department of Public Instruction, they may build their own template, or link to another site. Either way, schools must post lesson plans, instructional material, and curriculum by the end of the year, June 30, starting in 2022.

    The bill reads, in part: "The lesson plans that were used at the school during the prior school year... shall identify, at a minimum, all instructional materials by the title and the author, organization, or website associated with each material and activity, a brief descriptor of the instructional material, and a link to the instructional material, if publicly available on the internet, or information on how to request review of a copy of the instructional material in person. ... If the instructional material was created by the teacher, the lesson plan shall identify the teacher as the author."

    Democrat opponents of the bill said posting their lesson plans would be extra work, and that teachers should have some ownership rights over their lessons.

    "I remember the long, long hours I spent putting lesson plans together. My concern is, who gets credit for the lesson plans?" asked Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, on the floor of the House. "It's good to share them, yes, but they are works of art for your classroom.

    "People who do really good work are the ones who get promoted. I think that interferes with that process. This would prompt those who are just coming into this business to just search the website and use the best lesson plans."

    "Teachers are doing the work as a part of their job, and they shouldn't be adverse to sharing it with parents," responded Blackwell.

    The measure passed the state House and was sent over to the Senate on Thursday evening. It passed its first reading in the state Senate and was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
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