A number of progressive politicians have faced mounting criticism in recent years for suggesting that parents should have little or no input in the decisions made by local school boards.
In response, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has introduced legislation designed to establish a “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
“Time to give control back to parents”
His proposed bill directly targets the policies of Democratic officials from President Joe Biden down who have been dismissive toward parents who express concerns over harsh COVID-19 restrictions and divisive socially charged curricula.
“America has long recognized the right of parents to direct their children’s education but we are now seeing a concerted effort by the Left to shut parents out,” Hawley explained in a statement this week.
The senator went on to insist that it is “time to give control back to parents, not woke bureaucrats, and empower them to start a new era of openness in education.”
If successful, the bill would implement eight fundamental rights afforded to parents of school-age children and would be attached as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
The first of those rights involves being fully informed about what children are being taught in school — including books and instructional materials. Hawley’s bill would also prevent school officials from blocking access to that information.
A hot-button issue across America
Another right described in his proposal relates to parents being informed about who is teaching their children, including guest lecturers or outside presenters. It would also shift permission slips for assemblies and field trips from an opt-out to an opt-in format.
Hawley also wants parents to be aware of individuals and organizations contracted with or receiving funding from their children’s schools.
Other proposed rights would allow parents to check in on their kids during school hours and access all school records related to their children.
Hawley’s bill further calls for accountability and transparency in connection with school boards, including the apparent requirement that all school board meetings be conducted in a manner that is open to the public and allows for comments and questions from parents. Finally, he proposed a right of parents to be notified of criminal, health, or safety issues involving their children and school staff.
Education has been at the forefront of many political debates in recent weeks and was a motivating factor for many voters who aided Republican Glenn Youngkin in becoming Virginia’s next governor in an upset victory over his Democratic challenger.