Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich referred to the Parents Bill of Rights introduced in the House of Representatives as “excellent.”
The Parents’ Bill of Rights, which was originally introduced in 2021 by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, was reintroduced by newly-elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy last week.
The bill seeks to establish various rights of parents and guardians regarding the elementary or secondary school education of their minor children, according to a summary of the previously introduced legislation.
“That’s what today is all about,” McCarthy said at a press conference during the bill’s reintroduction. “It’s about every parent, mom and dad, but most importantly about the students in America.”
The legislation would prohibit a state, including its agents, subdivisions, or agents of it’s subdivisions from denying certain rights to a parent or guardian of a minor child regarding the child’s education.
“The House Republicans’ Parents Bill of Rights is excellent,” Gingrich said of the legislation on Monday.
“Parents have a God-given right to make decisions for their children,” reads a fact sheet of the legislation released by the Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Unfortunately, many school districts have been ignoring the wishes of parents while special interest groups try to criminalize free speech.”
The five-point fact sheet asserts “parents have a right to know what their children are being taught,” proposing school districts publicly share curriculum information along with states providing copies of revisions to the state’s academic standards or learning benchmarks. Parents must be provided a list of books and reading materials available in the school library. Parents must also be given “timely notice” of any school’s plan to eliminate gifted and talented programs.
Teachers must offer two in-person meetings with parents each year and respect the First-Amendment right of parents along with their right to assemble and play a role in their child’s education. Parents must be granted the opportunity to address school boards on issues impacting the education of children enrolled in the school and school districts must subsequently consider community feedback in decision making.
School districts must also publicly disclose the district’s budgets along with each school’s budget including revenues and expenditures.
Parents also have the right to protect their child’s privacy as schools are prohibited from sharing student data with tech companies without parental permission. Schools are also prohibited from selling student data for commersial purposes. Parents must be involved in new or updated privacy policies and procedures for their school.
Schools must also notify parents of violent activity occuring on school grounds or at school-sponsored events while still protecting the privacy of the students involved in the incident.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, New York or North Carolina or even California. It doesn’t matter, the color [of] your skin, your wealth. When you have a child that is the most important thing in your life,” McCarthy said at the press conference. “And one thing we know in this country is education is the great equalizer.”