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Tipsheet

House Democrats Block GOP Effort to Codify Parents' Bill of Rights

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Parental oversight of their kids' education shouldn't be a complicated or divisive issue, but — as statewide elections in Virginia last month showed — parents' rights have become a partisan wedge as Democrats seek to keep America's families from having a role in what their children are learning.

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To preserve parents' ability to keep tabs on what's going on in schools and protect their ability to get critical information about the people to whom they entrust their children, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy drafted the Parents' Bill of Rights with Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Jim Banks (R-IN).

The House GOP's proposal is simple: Parents should have the right to review their school's curriculum and reading materials, to be heard, to see school budget and spending, to protect their child's privacy, and to be updated on any violent activity at school.

While the ideas in the Parents' Bill of Rights are straightforward and seemingly common sense, Democrats don't want such rights protected under federal law. So, House Republicans led by Rep. Letlow put Democrats' opposition to parental rights into the congressional record.

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When Rep. Julie Letlow (R-LA) brought the Parents' Bill of Rights to the House floor as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Democrats blocked even consideration of what Rep. Letlow called "five core principles that are designed to create mutually beneficial partnerships and lead to greater collaboration."

"As a mom of two and a former educator, I can tell you from firsthand experience that education is not something that can happen without parents playing a role," said Rep. Letlow while speaking about her proposal to put the Parents' Bill of Rights into federal law. "The learning process requires both sides to work together and have collaborative partnerships that ensure a student’s success," she added. 

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"The idea that government can exclude parents and have total control of the classroom will never work, because it ignores the simple truth that these are our children, not the government’s," Rep. Letlow noted. "The Parents' Bill of Rights puts safeguards in place that ensure that the foundation of education is built on a meaningful dialog between a family and their child’s school."

Even though the House GOP's position on parents' rights is the popular one in America at present — again, just look at Virginia where education was the top issue for voters and the GOP ticket prevailed — 218 Democrats voted against considering the Parents' Bill of Rights Act, blocking the measure from moving forward.

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