Parents’ Bill of Rights Law Passes the House
This week, the Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval to a Parents’ Bill of Rights bill, the culmination of months of hard work by members across the chamber. The bill is a bit of a mash-up of reforms relating to school transparency and instruction—eight amendments were added to the bill after the title was expanded, each from a different House member—but the final legislative product is one that parents and reformers can get behind. The Missouri Independent has more details on the bill:
The bill . . . aims to “to empower parents to enforce” rights laid out in the bill, like knowing what curriculum is being taught and allowing parents to visit schools to check on their children. . . .
An amendment added to the bill  would prohibit teachers or students from being forced to adopt ideas in violation of sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, such as concepts that individuals are inherently superior or inferior based on their race, ethnicity, color or national origin or “bear collective guilt” for the actions their ancestors may have committed in the past. . . .
Other provisions included in the bill require that public school employees’ salaries be included in the state’s accountability portal, allow for lawsuits if school boards fail to follow requirements that allow for public comment and directs the state education department to develop a database for schools to post their curriculum and professional development materials every six months.
The bill also requires that districts post their curricula on their websites, one of many ideas that overlaps with the Show-Me Institute’s Parents’ Bill of Rights published last year. If this bill is passed, it will go straight into law. This is in contrast to House Joint Resolution (HJR) 110, which would first go to voters, but would also have the benefit of entering the Missouri Constitution.
It’s been a slow process, but it is good to see some of the legislative logjam in Jefferson City that’s bedeviled lawmaking for over three months finally making its way down the river. I look forward to testifying on this legislation in the Senate and hope these reforms complete the legislative process and become law. Onward.