Parents protest ‘Bill of Rights’ education legislation

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Busloads of mothers and fathers descended on Congress Wednesday to protest a bill the GOP says would give parents more say over their kids’ education. Those who showed up believe the bill is about politics, not education.

“We’re very concerned about a parents’ Bill of Rights that has been created for us without us,” said Keri Rodrigues, president of the National Parents Union.

The Federal Parents Bill of Rights Act, which is set for a vote in the House of Representatives this week, would direct educators to publicly post the curriculum for each school. It would also require schools to notify parents and guardians of their rights — like the ability to review their school’s curriculum and budget.

“What children are being taught is in opposition to the beliefs that they are teaching at home,” said Kit Hart, a parent and member of Moms for Liberty.

According to a recent National Parents Union poll, only 18% of respondents said a parent “should be able to prevent all students at their child’s school from having access to curriculum or reading materials if they are in conflict with that parent’s own personal beliefs.”

The debate over parents’ involvement in schools reached a boiling point during the pandemic, when remote learning became common. During that time, videos of screaming parents at school board meetings quickly became viral sensations.

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration moved to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay.”

The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The initial law that DeSantis championed last spring bans those lessons in kindergarten through the third grade. The change was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

Last year, DeSantis signed a bill giving parents a say in what books schools can and can’t have in their libraries.

It forces all elementary schools to provide a searchable list of every book available in their libraries or used in instruction. School boards must let the public know when they plan to consider approving new instructional books and allow anyone to comment. Any objections to the material, by a parent or not, must be reported to the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.