Thanks to your support and citizen lobbying House Republicans have fulfilled an important campaign promise and passed H.R. 5, "the Parents Bill of Rights.
The legislation would require schools to publish their curricula publicly, mandate that parents be allowed to meet with their children’s teachers and make schools give information to parents when violence occurs on school grounds.
It would also require that parents receive a list of books and reading materials accessible at the school library, and give parents a say when schools are crafting or updating their policies and procedures for student privacy, among other provisions.
The bill also took aim at the Biden administration’s unconscionable attack on parents as a threat to public safety. After, in the wake of contentious school board meetings around the country, at the behest of the National School Boards Association Attorney General Merrick Garland sicced the FBI on parent activists.
The legislation says school and government officials “should never seek to use law enforcement to criminalize the lawfully expressed concerns of parents about their children’s education,” and that the “First Amendment guarantees parents and other stakeholders the right to assemble and express their opinions on decisions affecting their children and communities.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. who made the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act a priority during the early weeks of his tenure, said Republicans were “keeping our promise, our commitment to America, that parents will have a say in their kids’ education.”
This bill is not complex or complicated,” Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), the bill’s sponsor, said during debate on the House floor Thursday, according to reporting by Lexi Lonas and Mychael Schnell of The Hill. “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.”
“It is not an attempt to have Congress dictate their curriculum, or determine the books in the library,” she continued. “Instead, this bill aims to bring more transparency and accountability to education, allowing parents to be informed and when they have questions and concerns to lawfully bring them to their local school boards.”
While Democrats claimed the legislation would promote book banning, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C), the chairwoman for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, noted on a number of occasions that the legislation mentions nothing about banning books.
“The context here matters that we’re talking about legislation in this body to just ensure that parents know what’s in the libraries and what’s in the curriculum,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said. “It does nothing more.”
“Yet, that’s the great offense, but in trying to perpetuate this myth about federal perpetuation of so-called book banning — and let me be clear, yes, some local jurisdictions removing certain books, absolutely, and God bless them for it [because they are] books about explicit sex acts. Let that hang over the chamber,” he added, according to reporting by Lonas and Schnell.
In accordance with the new and more open House Rules negotiated with Speaker McCarthy a number of amendments were considered and openly debated on the House Floor. Our friend Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., successfully added amendments that would require schools to report when transgender “girls” join girls’ athletics teams and if transgender “girls” are allowed to use girls’ school restrooms or locker rooms. The bill would also require elementary and middle schools get parents’ consent to change a child’s gender designation, pronouns or name.
House Freedom Caucus members unsuccessfully tried to add provisions that called for abolishing Department of Education programs in schools and endorsed vouchers that would send public funds to private schools.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R—Kentucky, pointed to the 100-plus Republicans who supported his amendment to terminate the department’s authority and said “it adds a lot of momentum,” reported NPR.
“Parents want schools focused on reading, writing and math, not woke politics,” Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., said. About the bill and we agree.
While the bill is not likely to make much headway in the Schumer-Biden Democrat Senate it gives conservatives in the Senate a vehicle to push parental rights in education issues and force Democrats to go on record against them.
Parents Bill of Rights
Attorney General Merrick Garland
FBI school board meetings
Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Parents’ Bill of Rights Act
Rep. Chip Roy
Rep. Lauren Boebert
House Freedom Caucus