The GOP-led House of Representatives Friday passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act (HR5) to strengthen parents’ voice in their children’s education, by a vote of 213-208. No Democrats voted for the bill, while some leveled preposterous charges against it, including that it that threatens lessons on the Holocaust.
The bill faces a tough road ahead to become law. It would first have to be passed by a Democrat-led Senate and then be signed into law by the most leftist, pro-LGBT-agenda president in modern American history (Joe Biden).
The Parents Bill of Rights:
1. Right to know what’s being taught in schools and see reading materials.
2. Right to be heard.
3. Right to see school budgets and spending.
4. Right to protect your child’s privacy.
5. Right to be notified of any violent activity at school. pic.twitter.com/NunN5X6FFi
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 24, 2023
“The House Republicans’ school control bill is Orwellian to the core. … It will not see the light of day here in the Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, according to ABC News’ website.
Nevertheless, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy celebrated that he was keeping another promise to the American people by guiding HR5 through the legislative body he now leads. A statement by McCarthy’s Speaker office summarized the bill’s purpose as follows: “The Parents Bill of Rights has 5 pillars to ensure parents have the right to have a voice in their kids’ education:
- Right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material;
- Right to be heard;
- Right to see school budget and spending;
- Right to protect their child’s privacy;
- Right to be updated on any violent activity at school
“Democrats believe that parents shouldn’t have a say in their kids’ education, and actually know what the reading material is. Democrats believed that was extreme,” McCarthy said at a press conference after HR5’s passage. He said Democrats believed it was “extreme” to affirm the right of parents to attend school board meetings without being called “terrorists,” alluding to Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland’s infamous memo calling for a Justice Department investigation into alleged parental “threats” to local school boards.
HR5’s main House sponsor, Rep. Julia Letlow, R-LA, a former educator, countered critics who claim HR5 is about Congress dictating curricula to local schools or telling them which books should be allowed in their libraries.
Instead, Letlow said in a speech on the House floor yesterday, “This bill aims to bring more transparency and accountability to education, allowing parents to be informed, and when they have questions and concerns, to lawfully bring them to their local school board.”
“Parents across this country have overwhelmingly spoken out – they have had enough. They want a seat at the table because at the end of the day, these are our children, not the government’s.”
See my full remarks on H.R. 5, the Parents Bill of Rights pic.twitter.com/zsWMHzKato
— Congresswoman Julia Letlow (@RepJuliaLetlow) March 23, 2023
“Over the last two years, we’ve seen too many instances where, rather than opening their doors to welcome parents in as partners, some schools instead slammed them shut and said that government bureaucrats know what’s best for our children,” she said. “Parents across this country have overwhelmingly spoken out that they have had enough.
“They want a seat at the table because at the end of the day, these are our children, not the government’s,” Letlow said.
Dems’ reckless accusations: Hate, bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism
Left-wing Democrats pilloried Republicans for passing the parental rights bill and made some very extreme claims against it. AOC (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.) called the bill “fascism,” as WND reported Thursday. Kayleigh McEnany, President Donald Trump’s popular former spokesman, who now is a host on Fox News, played excerpts of Democrats’ hyperbolic takes on HR5 during floor debate on the bill Thursday:
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas: “Don’t we want our children to know that slavery was wrong…?”
- Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fl.: “Bills like this make schools more hostile, and make no mistake: it results in hate, bigotry and, yes, sometimes death of our students”
- Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fl.: “How pathetic, how dreadful, how disgraceful. We want to terrorize the very people [teachers] who love our children. … Our teachers are sacrificial lambs.”
- Rep. AOC, D-N.Y.: “When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism.”
But what most outraged McEnany was the comment by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.: “Extreme MAGA Republicans don’t want the children of America to learn about the Holocaust.” She expressed shock that Nancy Pelosi’s replacement, “the top House Democrat,” would make such a statement.
“What a malicious, egregious, outrageous lie. And I don’t use that word lightly. But that is a lie,” she said.
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HR5’s actual provisions
The following is the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” as laid out in HR5’s text:
(A) the right to review the curriculum of their child’s school;
(B) the right to know if the State alters the State’s challenging State academic standards;
(C) the right to meet with each teacher of their child not less than twice during each school year;
(D) the right to review the budget, including all revenues and expenditures, of their child’s school;
(E) the right to a list of the books and other reading materials contained in the library of their child’s school;
(F) the right to address the school board of the local educational agency;
(G) the right to information about violent activity in their child’s school; and
(H) the right to information about any plans to eliminate gifted and talented programs in the child’s school.
The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require:
- schools and educational institutions receiving federal funds to post the Parents Bill of Rights above;
- schools to publish curricula on their website to help educate parents know what is being taught to their children;
- each local educational agency to publish the “budget for the school year … including all revenues and expenditures (including expenditures made to private entities).
Liberal-leaning, “mainstream” media sources like NBC and AP sought to portray the GOP legislation — and the party’s focus on the “woke” left undermining quality education — as about “banning books.” An NBC video that accompanied an article about HR5’s passage even located and quoted a Virginia man who said he’d like not just to ban offensive books but to burn them.
This “banning books” argument that has been wielded by left-leaning special interest groups, “progressive” educational organizations and library groups like the American Library Association for decades ignores the reality that the biggest gatekeepers of books and information reaching students are liberal-dominated institutions, such as schools, academia (including teacher-training) and libraries. Thus a visitor to the average big-city or suburban library — or school library — might find dozens of pro-LGBT and pro-“Black Lives Matter” books but barely any that oppose these ideologies.
Moreover, leftist activists have successfully pressured the world’s largest book retailer, Amazon, into dropping books that offend their sensibilities, such as books written by or about former homosexuals like Joe Dallas.
LGBT-sympathetic and liberal-biased media rarely cover the most offensive parts of “woke” books that have found their way into schools and libraries, thus drawing parents’ ire — such as the pornographic “This Book Is Gay,” which celebrates sex-and-gender deviance. The anti-Christian book “discusses orgies, kinks and sex apps. It includes detailed information on how to have anal and ‘girl on girl’ sex,” Fox News reported.
Brian Camenker, president of the grassroots pro-family group MassResistance, told WND, “Every state has laws that ban giving this kind of obscene material to minors. But schools and libraries take advantage of a narrow exemption passed decades ago. Otherwise these people would be in jail.”
Principled conservatives’ opposition
Of the five Republican House legislators who voted against the Parent’s Bill of Rights, four are House Freedom Caucus members, including firebrand congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fl.
Gaetz summed up the conservative argument against a federal bill on education in a tweet: “From Wokeness to funding to [transgender] bathrooms to Critical Race Theory, the federal government SHOULD NOT be involved in education…I don’t want to strengthen the federal Department of Education. I want to abolish it…I don’t want Congress more involved in decisions that are best made in local school districts. I want the Congress less involved…Therefore, I voted against today’s Republican bill to establish a federal ‘Parents Bill of Rights.’”
From Wokeness to funding to bathrooms to Critical Race Theory, the federal government SHOULD NOT be involved in education.
I don’t want to strengthen the federal Department of Education. I want to abolish it.
I don’t want Congress more involved in decisions that are best made…
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 24, 2023
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