At Least Hazelwood’s Honest
Last week, the Show-Me Institute kicked off a repeat of its Show-Me Curricula Project from last year. The purpose of the project is to use Missouri’s Sunshine Law to find out what is being taught to students and told to teachers in Missouri schools, in connection with critical race theory (CRT) and its associated concepts.
Overall, the responses we’ve received so far in 2022 look generally like what we saw in 2021. Most schools either have not responded to our request for information or have denied teaching CRT. Some schools have opted to try and charge the Institute hundreds of thousands of dollars to get access to school curriculum, and many more wanted to charge smaller fees. What has been rare, however, is schools openly providing documents that include CRT-type material. Last year, the most prominent example of this was the Kansas City Public School District.
But another notable example from last year was the Hazelwood School District. Hazelwood was one district that provided CRT-related materials when the Institute sent requests last year, and at that time its curriculum included excerpts of the 1619 project being taught to fourth graders and materials provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center about “Teaching for Tolerance.” When Hazelwood responded to this year’s request, the district sent basically the same documents it did last year, though this time without any fourth-grade curriculum, indicating that content was removed from the curricula.
Our director of government accountability, Patrick Ishmael, has been critical of CRT concepts. But it’s important to remember that regardless of the content of the instruction, the public has a right to see it and districts have an obligation to provide it.
Hazelwood should be commended for its honesty and forthrightness in response to our inquiries, both last year and this year. Through two iterations of the project, it is the only district that to date has twice released the pertinent curriculum without any fees, delays, or complaints.
The point here is that if school districts are going to spend taxpayer money to educate students regarding a subject, including CRT, they should make the information available to parents. Ideally, all districts would be transparent with curriculum and would post it on their website or send it to parents before the start of a school year. After all, sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if government transparency can improve curricula, our schools and our kids will be better off for it.