The U.S. House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation on Friday aimed at giving parents more of a say in school curriculum and more control over their children’s education.
In a 213 – 208 vote, the House approved the Parents Bill of Rights, which would require school districts to annually post their curriculum online, allowing parents to review the materials. The bill, considered the “Politics over Parents Act” by Democratic politicians, moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to pass. (RELATED: ‘Have Our Voices Heard’: House Republicans Gather Florida Parents’ Input Ahead Of Education Bill Vote)
“My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that parents always have a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s upbringing and education,” Republican Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Today, we kept a key promise made in the Commitment to America by passing the Parents Bill of Rights. This is a crucial step in fighting to increase transparency and defend the rights of parents.”
Under the legislation, school districts must notify parents of any violence that occurs on campus. School districts are also required to provide parents with a list of materials students can access at the library, the bill stated.
The bill mandates that school districts take parents’ input into consideration when drafting policies, requiring that school boards respect the First Amendment rights of those who voice their concerns at meetings. Teachers must host two in person teacher-parent meetings per year, under the legislation.
An approved amendment to the bill, sponsored by Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, requires school districts to alert parents if their child is sharing a bathroom, locker room or sports team with a student of the opposite biological sex.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the bill “facist” and said the legislation would out members of the LGBT community “before they were ready,” the New York Post reported.
“When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism,” Ocasio-Cortez said according to the New York Post.
“The administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school,” the White House said in a statement to NBC News. “Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education.”
The #ParentsBillofRights is the first step in preparing our students for tomorrow. This includes my amendment to ensure parents know if their children are falling behind in reading levels by the third grade. pic.twitter.com/f29cBENbwb
— Congresswoman Erin Houchin (@RepHouchin) March 23, 2023
Around the country, parents are pushing back against school boards to have a say in what materials are available in schools; a group of Maine parents created a database of 82 sexually explicit books found in the school district’s libraries. In California, several parents compiled a database of age-inappropriate content in the district libraries.
“As a mom of two and a former educator, I believe for children to succeed, they need families and schools to work together as partners throughout the learning process,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Julia Letlow, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement to the DCNF. “After spending nearly a year and a half working to pass this bill, I’m grateful that we’re finally able to advance this critical legislation.”
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