The concept of transparency is not at all foreign to state governments. In fact, Mississippi has several provisions designed to promote transparency within state government by requiring financial disclosures posted online, open meetings, and other measures for various state entities. But how far have such efforts gone within the government school system?
Even though many other government entities have relatively stringent accountability protocols, the education system has not seen the fullest degree of accountability possible. While the state education system often makes its general academic directives public, there is often a degree of ambiguity even about what is specifically being taught on a day-to-day basis.
Many states have recently enacted academic transparency laws to remedy such ambiguity and have more transparency on what children are being taught. Rather than leaving citizens, taxpayers, and parents to wonder about what is being taught, such laws require the education system to post actual curriculum online for public inspection. Such measures are all the timelier in our day for two primary reasons, both from the standpoint of technological advancements that enable such accountability, and a growth in the polarization between parents and school administrators.
In the first place, the widespread of the internet, smartphones, and social media have all made the dissemination of information easier, cheaper, and more effective than ever before. In former days, an academic transparency measure might have required more expensive and time-consuming methods, such as mailing the public curriculum to individual addresses. Such technical challenges have been practically removed. Using the internet, even the most basic and inexpensive technology of today has the ability to publish school records publicly for millions of citizens to see.
Finally, issues such as Critical Race Theory, “Gender Theory,” and other issues have become increasingly divisive issues as parents across the country are coming to grips with an increasingly radicalized academic establishment. In order for citizens to be informed on what the government schools are actually teaching, posting curriculum online is a basic first step.
Transparency and accountability to the people are among the most fundamental ingredients of a good government. If the state of Mississippi has requirements for other government entities to post their information on the internet, government school administrators should be required to do the same with school curriculum.
Ultimately, a policy of accountability and open information for school curriculum is a policy grounded in the fundamentals of our nation’s founding ideals. Fundamentally, by giving the citizens a working knowledge of their government, the power is placed in the hands of the people -where it belongs. For in the words of Thomas Jefferson: “knowledge is power, knowledge is safety, and knowledge is happiness.” It’s time for the Mississippi Legislature to ensure that its people have the means and ability to have such knowledge and be completely informed about government school curriculum.