So many parents thought the public school system was there to serve them and their children. Little did they know that they are there to serve the public school system and the approximately 350,000 people who work at them. Or at least that is what many in the public school system think.
Did you ever think there would come a day when a Michigan or any state’s public school would deny parents access to course materials that are being used in the education of their children?
What exactly is the Rochester School District hiding from the parents?
Mlive is reporting that last Monday March 14th the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation filed a suit on behalf of Carol Beth Likouhi. She is a parent of several children that attend Rochester public schools. She is a parent who simply wanted to review class material that is being used in their classrooms.
Steve Delie, the director of open government and transparency at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy stated that:
Schools must make curricula available to parents under Michigan law…Despite this, Rochester schools repeatedly failed to fulfill this legal obligation. It shouldn’t take months of back and forth, hundreds of dollars and a lawsuit just to see what is being taught in your community.
I believe the details of this case are secondary to the remarkable revelation that a school district right here in Michigan can deny the clients of their school, the parents and their children, the ability to review any class material being taught in their schools. Any taxpayer should be able to review these materials since they are paid for by the taxpayer. The government employees who work at those schools are being paid by the taxpayer. They work for us, we do not work to only pay them.
The case involves the Rochester Community School District's violation of Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law by withholding course materials for the class “History of Ethnic and Gender Studies”. What is in those course materials that the school district feels it needs to hide from parents?
Ms. Litkouhi stated in a Mackinac Center Legal Foundation new release:
It is incredibly disappointing that the district continues to refuse to be transparent and has stonewalled my efforts to learn more about what is being taught in the classroom…Michigan parents deserve better"
The school responded stating:
Rochester Community Schools is committed to cultural proficiency, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social-emotional learning for all…We focus on state curriculum standards to provide a high-quality public education for our students in a caring and supportive learning environment, where all members are safe, valued and respected.
In the complaint they state:
This case deals with a matter of significant public interest, namely, the ability of parents to ensure schools are transparent about the lessons being taught to the children they serve…The need for transparency in this particular area is essential, as it affords parents the opportunity to understand what their children are learning, and to fully engage with local government officials about these lessons…The district failed to address any specific argument raised in plaintiff’s appeal, including the fact that the district’s position would inherently mean that no classroom materials had been produced in a course that had been actively taught for over six months
After Ms. Litkouhi’s FOIA appeal was denied, the Rochester School district stated “she could review the materials on-site, but that it could not produce copies due to copyright protection”. A public textbook and classroom materials bought by taxpayer documents are copyrighted. There must be some interesting materials being uploaded into the heads of these children that Rochester Community School District would come up with that ridiculous argument.
At the beginning of this article, I asked what is the Rochester Community School District hiding from the parents?
I end with asking what is the Rochester Community School District putting into the head of these children, that they are afraid for their parents to know?
Steve Delie, the director of open government and transparency at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy will be on my show today in the first hour to discuss this case. If you are unable to listen live you can listen to my interview via podcast.