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House Republicans pass the Parents Bill of Rights Act

The House of Representatives passed legislation on Friday to give parents more say and insight into what’s being taught in public schools.

The legislation was passed largely along party lines, 213-208, with five Republicans lining up with the Democrats. Republican congressmen Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Mike Lawler of New York and Matt Rosendale of Montana voted against the law.

“However, the measure has a fatal flaw. While it appears to bolster parental rights, it undermines the crucial principle for conservatives: federalism, the bedrock of our liberty,” Mr. Buck wrote in a recent Washington Times op-ed

He added, “If a GOP-led House says the federal government can require all schools to provide parents with copies of teachers’ lesson plans, what prevents a future Democrat-led Congress from passing legislation that would.” prohibits this type of transparency Which local school districts have implemented and what is working best at the local level?”

Rep. Julia Letlow, a Louisiana Republican and member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, authored the Parents Bill of Rights Act, which is the GOP’s top priority.

The bill refers to five pillars that school parents have:

• Know what is taught in schools.
• Raise concerns directly to education authorities.
• View school budgets.
• Protecting the privacy of sons and daughters.
• Be kept informed of violent activities at school.

Ultimately, the 30-page bill revises the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require public schools to make certain information available to parents on the Internet.

These include: school curricula, education budgets, reading lists, and library books. School officials must also notify parents of violent incidents occurring on school property and speak with parents about how best to protect their children’s online information.

Democrats rejected the legislation Thursday, with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling it “fascism.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said during a recent presentation of the bill, “So many times in this country have we found parents being attacked and labeled terrorists simply because they wanted to go to a school board meeting to have a listen what is going on is going on.”

He added: “The right to see school budgets and how they spend their money, the right to protect your child’s privacy and the right to be kept informed of violent activities at school. We think these are pretty basic things that any and all parents should be entitled to.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, told reporters that his caucus will “fight legislation.”

He said: “We will fight against book bans, against bullying of children from every community and certainly from the LGBTQ+ community.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York, accused Republicans of putting “politics before people” in the legislation.

However, Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas, sees the legislation as more than just a messaging law.

“It’s a very thoughtful, in-depth account of a problem in this country that stems from the Biden administration, and the Biden administration in particular, pressuring the United States Attorney General, who then directs federal law enforcement for matters.” that they shouldn’t be involved,” he said, referring to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memo to Justice Department officials about investigating parents protesting school boards as “domestic terrorists.”

Though the measure is unlikely to move forward in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it will likely be a factor in next year’s presidential and congressional election cycle.

Rallying around what’s taught in the public school system is no longer a taboo subject for Republicans. The GOP has often ceded the issue to Democrats, but public education has become a hotly debated topic since schools closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and teachers began teaching online.

Many parents became politically active after seeing their children being taught content at home and worried that the issues were too polarizing or explicit.

They clashed with officials at school board meetings and clashed over vaccination and mask mandates when schools reopened. The contentious debate became a successful campaign call for Republican Glenn Youngkin in his 2021 race for governor of Virginia. Issues included teaching critical race theory in K-12 schools.