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VIDEO: Your School District Should Not Be Hiding Education from You

May 19, 2022

“Parents have an absolute right to know what their kids are learning in school,” Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas says in a new Daily Signal video.

It ought to be a simple, uncontroversial concept. But as Nicole and many other parents have discovered, public schools often prefer to keep them in the dark.

The public education establishment tried to intimidate and bully Nicole for asking what her daughter would be learning in kindergarten—even unleashing legal action to shut down her questions. Instead of giving in, Nicole stood up to the bullies with the Goldwater Institute’s help and became a strong advocate for our policy solution: a landmark academic transparency reform that shines a light on public school curricula.

Nicole’s fight for her rights started because she was worried her daughter would be exposed to radical political content in the classroom. And for good reason, too.

“They essentially said that they were teaching [Critical Race Theory] in something called ‘Common Practices.’ They refused to tell me what exactly that line of thinking was. With gender theory, they said that they embed the values of gender identity into the classroom at every age and every class at an age-appropriate level,” Nicole recounts in the video.

Nicole tried asking more questions about the kindergarten curriculum, but her school district told her to submit formal public records requests instead. So she did. But doing exactly what the district told her to just made the public education bureaucrats that much more hostile.

“Finally, one day my school put my name on the agenda of a public school committee meeting, where they said that they were going to openly discuss suing Nicole Solas for filing over 160 public records requests,” Nicole says. “They had a five-hour-long public school board meeting where they openly discussed my moral character. They called me racist. They debated my political motivations. They invited people in my community to speak against me as if they were witnesses speaking against me at a show trial.”

Ultimately, the school district told Nicole the public records she asked for would cost $74,000. And education bureaucrats weren’t done with her yet. “The National Education Association, the largest teachers union in America, did sue me for submitting public records requests about Critical Race Theory and gender theory in school—and these are the same public records requests that my school district told me to submit,” she says. (Goldwater is defending Nicole against that frivolous suit pro bono.)

“They’re suing me to bully me and harass me and send a message to other parents that if you ask questions about Critical Race Theory and gender theory in school, they will also try to silence you,” Nicole adds.

Nicole’s story is not an outlier. As parents across the country push back against the radical lessons taught to their children in public schools, they’re being stonewalled or charged thousands of dollars in public records requests fees just to find out the truth.

But there’s a solution: the Goldwater Institute’s Academic Transparency Act, a revolutionary reform that requires public schools to publish a list of instructional materials and activities used during the academic year on a publicly accessible portion of their website. This reform, which has been introduced in legislation in more than twenty state legislatures across the country, empowers parents to exercise meaningful school choice and ensure they send their students to institutions that promote academic rigor rather than political indoctrination.

Parents are demanding this reform, current and former teachers are taking a public stand in favor of it, and nationwide polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans support academic transparency.

It’s a simple, yet crucial concept. As Nicole put it: “Your school district should not be hiding education from you.”

You can find out more about Goldwater’s academic transparency reform here, and you can read more about Nicole’s story here.

Joe Setyon is a Digital Communications Associate at the Goldwater Institute.



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