Poll shows majority of residents in four states surveyed support curriculum transparency

(The Sentinel) – According to a new poll provided to The Daily Wire, an overwhelming majority of registered voters in Kansas and three other states support more transparency in public school curriculum.

The Daily Wire reports that most registered voters in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Louisiana agreed that parents should be able to compare curricula between schools prior to enrolling their children, according to polling from the Goldwater Institute.

According to the poll, 64% of Kansans, 72% of Missourians, 71% of Iowans and a whopping 87% of Louisiana voters agreed.

Moreover, adults in their 20s through 40s — more likely to have school-age children — were even more in favor.

“Of adults from 35 to 44, 85% in Louisiana, 75% in Missouri, 78% in Iowa, and 74% in Kansas said they supported parental curriculum access before enrollment.”

Transparency and parents’ rights have been hot-button issues across the country in 2022 — as well as in Kansas where Governor Laura Kelly — a Democrat — vetoed a parents’ bill of rights earlier this year.

The original Kansas bill would have enumerated 12 rights reserved for parents, including the right to direct the education and care of the parent’s child and the right to direct the upbringing and moral or religious training of the parents’ child.

The bill was hotly opposed both by teacher unions and school administrations, and a veto override attempt failed in the Kansas House of Representatives, despite being overridden in the Kansas Senate.

Gubernatorial hopefuls support transparency

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt — a Republican — who is running for Kelly’s seat, said through a spokesman he is in favor of such legislation.

“As AG Schmidt has said publicly many times, he will sign into law the Parents Bill of Rights as governor,” Schmidt Campaign Spokesman CJ Grover said via email, adding Schmidt would also be “open to broadening the Parents Bill of Rights to address curriculum transparency.”

The Sentinel also reached out to independent gubernatorial candidate Dennis Pyle, the Republican State Senator from Hiawatha, who said he would also be in support of such legislation.

“Greater transparency is needed in all of Kansas government,” Pyle said. “As an alumni of Hiawatha schools and having direct involvement in homeschooling our six daughters, I firmly believe in parental involvement in the education of children.  It is unfortunate that curriculum transparency is not already policy. I would like to see the legislation, but it is definitely an issue I can support.”

Pyle voted to override Kelly’s veto.

Goldwater polling tracks with other surveys on curriculum

A SurveyUSA poll conducted on behalf of Kansas Policy Institute, which owns the Sentinel, shows 57% of parents and grandparents are concerned that students may be learning things that they find objectionable.  And there is a long list of such content in Kansas.

The Lansing, Kansas, Unified School District Board of Education decided recently, on its own hook, to pass a resolution enshrining parents’ rights within its borders.

The small community, just north of Kansas City, Kansas, is part of the KC Metro area and the seven-member board passed their Parents Bill of Rights 4-3.

The district’s new regulation is substantially similar to the bill passed by both houses of the state Legislature.

The Legislature’s version stated that parents shall have “the right to make healthcare and medical decisions for such child, including the right to make decisions regarding vaccinations and immunizations.”

But because a school board policy cannot supersede state law, Lansing’s version adds a reference to state statute and a requirement to present an annual physician’s letter for medical exemptions or “a written statement signed by one parent or guardian that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose religious teachings are opposed to such tests or inoculations.”

The Lansing version also added a paragraph stating parents shall have “the right to expect teachers and administrators will not withhold, either inadvertently or purposely, important information related to a child, including, but not limited to, information relating to health, well-being, and education.”