Republican Representative Julia Letlow of Louisiana introduced into Congress the bill H.R. 5 this week. This bill is called the Parents' Bill of Rights. Rep. Letlow says her bill is about transparency and accountability, which will provide protections for parents and make sure that a child's education is always built on a meaningful dialogue between families and educators.
The bill includes five rights, and those rights are:
1) The right to know what's being taught
- School districts must post curriculum information publicly.
- States must provide the public with a copy of any revisions to the state's academic standards or learning benchmarks.
- Parents must be given timely notice of any school's plan to eliminate the gifted and talented programs.
- Schools must provide parents with a list of books and reading materials available in the school library.
2) The right for parents to be heard
- Teachers must offer two in-person meetings with parents each year.
- Parents must be allowed to address the school board on issues impacting the education of children in the school district.
- Educators and policymakers must respect the First Amendment right of parents as well as their right to assemble and have a say in their child's education.
- School districts should consider community feedback when making decisions.
3) The right to see the school budgets
- Parents have the right to see the school budget and spending. There must be public disclosure of school district budgets and each school's budget, including revenues and expenditures.
4) The right to protect your child's privacy
- Schools must not share student data with tech companies without parental permission.
- Schools must not sell student data for commercial purposes.
- Parents have a say when schools develop or update their student privacy policies and procedures.
- Parents must consent before any medical exam takes place at school, including mental health or substance use disorder screenings, and before students are surveyed.
5) The right to be told of school violence
- Schools must notify parents of violent activity occurring on school grounds or at school-sponsored events while still protecting the privacy of the students involved in the incident.
Rep. Letlow says during the pandemic and virtual learning many parents were not happy with what their children were learning, and while parents complained to the school boards about what their children were learning nothing was done by the school boards. Rep. Letlow decided to create the parents' bill of rights H.R. 5 which will make sure that parents always have a seat at the table when it comes to their children's education. This bill aims to make it clear to parents what their rights are, as well as to school districts what their duties to parents are.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California says the bill should be heard by the House next week and will most likely be voted on by the House by the end of March or the beginning of April.
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