Sen. Josh Hawley introduces “Parent’s Bill of Rights” to defend the role of parents in education 

by mcardinal

Matt Bush, FISM News


Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the Parent’s Bill of Rights Act earlier this week to “defend parents’ fundamental rights against efforts to shut them out of their children’s education,” according to a statement on his website.

The proposed bill comes amidst rising concerns that public schools are pushing liberal agenda items and that parents are being left in the dark on things that are directly affecting their children. These concerns were highlighted by events in Loudoun County, a letter sent by the National School Board Association (NSBA) comparing parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorists, and increased clamor over the inclusion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools.

Hawley said that his bill “would prohibit nondisclosure agreements concerning curriculum; let parents make copies of classroom material; require schools to have parents opt their children into field trips, assemblies, and other extracurricular activities; and in general require more transparency from school boards and educators concerning things like student records and safety.” 

The bill also attempts to amend the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act” of 1965 (ESEA) to include the “Parent’s Bill of Rights.” The original ESEA, according to the Education Post, was to “improve educational equity for students from lower-income families by providing federal funds to school districts serving poor students.” ESEA was a pre-cursor to the “No Child Left Behind” laws.

The ESEA attempted to provide federal funding to ensure that students from lower income areas received the same advantages as those from higher income areas. Hawley’s bill, which is an amendment to ESEA, will also provide federal protection and funding to ensure that parents can be involved and have a voice in their child’s education.

One section stands out from the bill is Section 104, entitled “A parent’s right to know” which includes the following eight points:

  1. Parents can review their child’s curriculum.
  2. Parents must be informed if a state changes their academic standards.
  3. Parents have the right to meet with each of their child’s teachers at least 2 times per year.
  4. Parents have the right to review the annual school budget.
  5. Parents should have a list of every title in the school library.
  6. Parents have the right to appropriately speak at a school board meeting.
  7. Parents have the right to know about any violent activity at the school.
  8. Parents have to know when/if a gifted/talented program is eliminated.

Some on the left are calling this a political stunt, saying that Republicans are trying to capitalize on a winning strategy recently used in Virginia heading into the midterm elections.

However, while politicians, as representatives of the people, should listen to their constituents desires, it is “tone-deaf” to consider this bill strictly a political stunt. The bill rather aims to make the educational process more transparent so that parents, who are responsible for the overall well-being of their child, can make informed decisions about their sons’ and/or daughters’ education.