The legislation would give parents more control over their children’s education.
The House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights in late March giving parents more insight into their children’s legislation. The bill was pushed forward to the Senate via a 213-208 party line vote.
The bill would force schools to be more transparent regarding curriculum materials, mandate parental consent for participation in student surveys, and more.
“Public schools are paid for by taxpayer dollars,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said. “Mothers and fathers deserve financial transparency and to see how their money is being used.”
The measure would also require schools to offer at least two in-person parent-teacher meetings per year. School boards would also be mandated to listen to feedback from parents about educational practices.
The bill comes after the National School Boards Association wrote a letter to President Joe Biden arguing the country’s “public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat” from these parents and called verbal confrontations and other incidents at local school board meetings across the country “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy emphasized this was one of his top priorities this Congress.
"We believe parents should be able to know when your children is learning, know [how] your tax dollars are being spent, and whether your child is safe in school," McCarthy said ahead of the vote. "And that's exactly what the Parents Bill of Rights does."
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy emphasized the measure would create novel “checks and balances” for parents over their children’s education.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise hailed the bill calling it a “basic concept but a powerful statement.”
Both House Democrats and the White House voiced opposition to the bill.
“The administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school," the White House said in a statement. "Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries blasted Republicans, accusing them of playing politics.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans passed a bill that puts politics over parents and will ban books, censor librarians and bully children," Jeffries said.