Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Newhouse Legislation to Protect Parents' Educational Rights Passes House

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 24 Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and his House colleagues passed H.R. 5, the Parents Bill of Rights Act. This legislation would put practices in place that facilitate meaningful dialog between a family and their child's school and lead to more parental input throughout the learning process. It amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure that federally-funded schools provide parents with the transparency they deserve.

"Parents know what's best for their children and are their greatest advocates. Ensuring they have a say in their child's education is just common-sense," said Rep. Newhouse. "I'm proud to see the passage of this critical legislation that will provide families with more options to collaborate with school districts, have more access to information regarding their children's education, and ultimately provide a better curriculum and learning experience for our next generation of leaders."

Background:

The legislation is built on five, common-sense principles.

1. Parents have the right to know what their children are being taught.

 • School districts must post curriculum information publicly.

 • States must provide the public a copy of any revisions to the state's academic standards or learning benchmarks.

 • Parents must be given timely notice of any school's plan to eliminate gifted and talented programs.

 • Schools must provide parents with a list of books and reading materials available in the school library.

2. Parents have the right to be heard.

 • Teachers must offer two in-person meetings with parents each year.

 • Parents must be allowed to address the school board on issues impacting the education of children in the school district.

 • Educators and policymakers must respect the First Amendment right of parents as well as their right to assemble and have a say in their child's education.

 • School districts should consider community feedback when making decisions.

3. Parents have the right to see the school budget and spending.

 • There must be public disclosure of school district budgets and each school's budget, including revenues and expenditures.

4. Parents have the right to protect their child’s privacy.

 • Schools must not share student data with tech companies without parental permission.

 • Schools must not sell student data for commercial purposes.

 • Parents have a say when schools develop or update their student privacy policies and procedures.

 • Parents must consent before any medical exam takes place at school, including mental health or substance use disorder screenings, and before students are surveyed.

5. Parents have the right to keep their children safe.

 • Schools must notify parents of violent activity occurring on school grounds or at school-sponsored events while still protecting the privacy of the students involved in the incident.




 

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