by Reagan Reese
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 in 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.
“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. Mark 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. Laura 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.
“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.
“This bill is not complex or complicated,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Julia Letlow, the bill’s sponsor, said Thursday during the House floor debate, according to The Hill. Thursday. “Nor should it be partisan or polarizing and contrary to what you may hear from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it is not an attack on our hard working teachers, who will always be the heroes in my eyes.”
Letlow did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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Reagan Reese is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Teacher Explaining Student Curriculum to Parent” by Scottish Government. CC BY 2.0.