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Ohio schools group says bill to require all curriculum to be posted online could be a problem

 Students take a test in a high school classroom in Licking Heights in 2019.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Students take a test in a high school classroom in Licking Heights in 2019. A bill that has been introduced in the state legislature requires teachers to post what students are learning at school online.

Ohio’s schools would be required to post curriculum, lesson plans, reading lists and other material on their websites for anyone to access under a bill that’s been proposed by Rep. Brent Hillyer (R-Ulrichsville).

An organization representing the state’s school boards says the idea is good in principle, but making it work in reality could be difficult.

The Ohio School Boards Association said it’s on board with making sure parents have full access to what kids are learning. The group’s Will Schwartz noted state law already requires schools deliver that information upon parental request.

But Schwartz said requiring all of it to be put online would mean a lot of extra work for districts struggling with staffing levels and for teachers dealing with remote learning and catching up from last year.

"The challenge is how do we ensure parents have access and prompt merit to these materials while respecting the time of educators to continue meeting the needs of their students, particularly in a global pandemic when those needs are so great right now," Schwartz said. "It's our position that the current law right now threads the needle perfectly in a way that allows parents to have access to every aspect of their students' educational career while also respecting and not burdening educators with red tape and regulations and allowing them to focus on students."

And Schwartz also noted many districts are already using online providers to share curriculum and other information with parents, such as Schoology, Power School and Google Classroom.

Schwartz said the bill is likely the result of 2021 being what he calls “the year of the parent.”

There were a record number of school board candidates last year, and many people came to board meetings, often to protest mask policies or teaching about racism in history.

Hillyer said his bill is not a response to concerns about what Republican candidates have called "critical race theory," which is not taught in K-12 schools in Ohio.

“It’s more about transparency and allowing parents to be empowered to make decisions for their children and ultimately to compare and contrast school districts and school choice," Hillyer said.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.