Families, communities, and nations are stronger when parents are involved in the education of their children. However, many school districts seek to keep parents unaware of the school curriculum, budgets, and other materials used in teaching the children.
The U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to give more rights to parents. On Friday, the House passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act. The bill will most likely go no where in the Senate or being signed by President Joe Biden. However, it does show that Republicans want to help parents and children. The bill was approved in the House by a vote of 213 to 208 after several amendment votes and floor debate from both Democrats and Republicans.
Before the November 2022 mid-term election, current Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and other House members made the commitment to support the rights of parents in education, and the House vote showed that they were serious. Joshua Lee explained why the Republicans passed the bill and what would happen if the bill became law.
Republicans engaged on the issue of parental involvement in schools after controversies erupted over the past few years across the country over what children are taught in school. Democrats have criticized the GOP over the issue, saying that they are turning classrooms into political battlefields.
If the Parents Bill of Rights Act becomes law, it would require schools to publicly post their curriculum, and would also require a list of all books and other supplementary reading material in school libraries to be made public.
School boards would be required to listen to parents’ concerns and schools would need to facilitate a minimum of two parent-teacher meetings a year. Additionally, schools would need to disclose their expenses and revenues as well as alert parents to any violence at school events, among other mandates.
A few Republicans did not vote for the bill, claiming that they supported the goal of the bill but not the means of bringing it about. They support giving parents more control over the education of their children, but they support the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the federal government and state governments.
Even though parents have a “God-given right to be involved in their children’s education” as Representative Burgess Owens (R-Utah) said, giving more power to the federal government is not according to the Constitution. In fact, anyone who knows the Constitution knows that education is not mentioned in it. They also know that the Constitution gives a limited list of powers to the federal government and leaves everything else to the states or to the people themselves.
Education decisions should be made in the local school districts rather than by the federal government. It is in the local area that parents can have the most influence in the debate about education. If the local school boards are not listening to the parents, then parents should band together to elect someone who will listen to them. Parents should be involved in the education of their children, and they can strengthen their family, community, and nation by doing so.