During the pandemic, many parents across the country were outraged after being called terrorists simply because they wanted to know what their children were learning in the classroom. Thursday, Republican congressional leaders introduced the Parents' Bill of Rights Act, which promises to give parents more control over their children's education.
"One thing we know in this country is that education is the great equalizer and we want the parents to be empowered," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told a group of lawmakers and parents gathered on Capitol Hill.
McCarthy says the Parents' Bill of Rights Act sits on 5 main pillars:
- The right to know what's being taught in schools and the reading material
- The right to be heard
- The right to see the school budget and spending
- The right to protect their child's privacy, and
- The right to be updated on any violent activity at school
"We think these are pretty basic things that everybody and every parent should have a right to," he said.
Several parents were on hand to remind lawmakers why this legislation is so critical including Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas. Solas was sued by a teachers union for wanting to know what her kindergartner would be learning.
"I'm still in litigation with the teachers union. I still don't have my answers, but what I do know is that my school district and my teacher's union didn't want to just hide the curriculum from me, they wanted to ruin my life just for asking for it, and I don't want that to happen to any other parents in America," Solas said.
"They sued you for asking what's being taught to your child?" asked McCarthy. "You are the exact reason why we have the Parents' Bill of Rights," he told her.
On CBN'S Faith Nation, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council raised the question of how the Democrats will respond. "It's going to be very interesting to see what the other side of the aisle does with this measure that simply empowers parents, creates transparency in education, making sure that the parents who pay for the schools have an understanding of what their children are being taught and having a voice in the process," Perkins added.
Nelley McCallister, a Fairfax County Virginia mother of four said, "It is our primary duty to protect our children and preserve their innocence. Unfortunately, there is a toxic movement infiltrating our schools that is more interested in pushing a political agenda rather than teaching our students, our children, the subjects we were taught in school."
Louisiana Republican Congresswoman Julia Letlow sponsored the bill. She says the pandemic brought to light what's actually being taught in schools. Parents were shocked to learn the curriculum was heavy on LGBTQ rights, Critical Race Theory, and other so-called "woke" indoctrination.
"And so then we did the right thing, we went to our School Boards and we voiced our displeasure but we were turned away and some of us were even labeled domestic terrorists – that was absolutely not right," Letlow said. "That was the impetus for this bill. And thanks to all of you, the parents in this room, for stepping up and saying enough is enough," she said.
Quisha King, the deputy director of BEST Parent Advocacy at FreedomWorks says, "We also saw things like gender ideology – 'if you believe that you are another sex then that's what you should be affirmed in.' And we know as parents that is not something that is scientific, it's not biological and we need to deal with these problems in the proper way," King said.
Critics say the bill would lead to education bans and take books off classroom shelves. But House Republicans say parents have a right to a seat at the table when it comes to their children's education and the Parents' Bill of Rights will ensure that. The bill is expected to pass the House but face strong opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.