The Republican-majority House of Representatives passed “Parents Bill of Rights” bill mostly along party lines last week. The vote passed 213-208, which included five defections from Republicans that it did not go far enough. No Democrats voted against the bill.
The bill is intended to create transparency in public education, such as giving parents the right to know whether their child’s school allows transgender girls to play on sports teams or use restrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity. It also requires schools to seek parental consent for students to use different names or pronouns.
Other parts of the bill require schools to offer at least two in-person parent-teacher meetings on a yearly basis and require school boards to hear feedback from parents about education concerns.
The mainstream media predictably reacted with disdain when the bill passed and quoted Democratic Party talking points to voice opposition to the bill.
Politico’s article said that the move allows “Republicans to use Democrats’ vote against a “Parents Bill of Rights” as 2024 campaign fodder.”
NBC News wrote that the bill “mark[ed] the congressional Republicans’ foray into culture war battles taking place across the country over what is being taught in public schools.”
The Associated Press (AP) said that the bill’s critics alleged “it would propel a far-right movement that has led to book bans, restrictions aimed at transgender students and raucous school board meetings across the country.” The news outlet also turned the story into one about alleged “book bans” and claimed the GOP has launched “attempted book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries” throughout the country.
The AP did not acknowledge that the alleged “book bans” are attempts by parents to ensure that age-appropriate books are in school and public libraries and that they are focusing on racially-divisive material or inappropriate sexual content. Also, the AP did not explain why parents are part of a so-called “far-right movement” to push alleged “book bans.”
Adding to media criticism, the Department of Education condemned the bill as “not rooted in the reality that parents are living in” and highlighted how “Republican officials are focused more on playing politics than helping our parents, kids and schools.”
Also, the five Republicans who voted against the bill were Representatives Matt Gaetz (Florida), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Ken Buck (Colorado), Matt Rosendale (Montana), and Mike Lawler (New York). Gaetz said that he voted the way he did because “the federal government SHOULD NOT be involved in education” and that he would prefer to abolish the Department of Education.