House Democrats confirmed what has been long suspected on Friday when every single one of them voted against a Parents' Bill of Rights that would guarantee parents the rights to have a say about their children's education and curriculum.
The bill still passed 213-208, but if Democrats in the Senate are likewise inclined, the bill will unfortunately die there since Democrats have the majority.
Under the new legislation, parents would have the right to speak at school board meetings and meet with teachers about their concerns.
In addition, schools would have to make their curriculum public and give parents a list of materials students will read as well as document publicly what materials are in the school library.
It would also put back into parents' hands the right to decide what pronouns their children use and whether they can use the locker room of their choosing, rather than the one that corresponds to their biological gender.
“As a mom of two, I know how important it is that parents and schools work together to create a positive environment for learning and growth,” U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice, (R-OK), wrote on Twitter. “This bill empowers parents and allows them to have a greater say in their children’s education.”
Some school officials and Democrat lawmakers have said they don't think parents should have primary rights over their children while they are at school, but that the schools should have control.
The issue has been an important one for several governors' races including Virginia and Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) got national attention for his own parents' rights in education bill, which the left dubbed the "don't say gay" bill because in part, it prohibits schools from teaching anything about sexuality and gender to children through third grade.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) also focused on controversy around school board meetings in his state that censored parents and even arrested some of them, and it was a major factor in defeating longtime political operative Terry McAuliffe in that race.
Parental rights in education is a topic that has broad public support--most people readily recognize that parents should be informed about what's happening with their child at school and what they are learning.
Decisions about minor children's pronouns, changing their names, and others decisions around gender and sexual orientation should not be made by the schools without informing parents.
It's a cop-out on the school's part, anyway. If they just make an end run around the parents and hide things from them, it avoids conversations that could be helpful to families and to schools about these issues.
Communication, even on hard issues where parents may be at odds with school policies, is really the best way to get to a reasonable resolution of the situation. Keeping secrets or resting authority with school officials that should be reserved for parents are never the right things to do.
That the Republicans' bill is even needed shows the sad state of affairs in many schools, and it's a shame that the bill probably won't make it through the Senate or survive a Biden veto.