Will a Missouri Parents’ Bill of Rights Be Added to the State Constitution?
When we released our Missouri Parents’ Bill of Rights (MPBR) late last year, we did so because we thought parents (and taxpayers) needed to have their rights reaffirmed with regard to K-12 education in Missouri. In fact, our Show-Me Curricula Project—featuring thousands of records requests to public schools and districts—demonstrated two troubling facts very clearly: that critical race theory was appearing in curricula across the state, and that many, many schools and districts were not being forthcoming about what they were teaching kids and, in my judgment, obstructing necessary transparency.
Parents deserve to see what their kids are learning, and taxpayers deserve to know what they’re paying for. If that’s going to happen, however, at a minimum state law needs to be updated to empower these stakeholders to assert those rights.
It will take champions of reform in the Missouri legislature to carry such bills forward, but fortunately there are already several good proposals circulating at the Capitol, including an especially strong one that I testified on this morning. House Joint Resolution (HJR) 110, introduced by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, would put key language from the MPBR directly into the Missouri Constitution—including curriculum transparency, performance transparency, and a host of other items. As a Constitutional item, Missouri voters would also have their final say on the proposal at the ballot box later this year, and I’m optimistic it would succeed with the public. Accordingly, I felt it was important to testify to the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee (which heard the bill) to share my research.
If passed by the legislature and the public, the Constitutional amendment would be an enormous leap forward for both educational reform and transparency. I hope the entire Legislature and eventually the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on this important proposal.