(Scott McClallen | The Center Square) – Four Senate Republicans announced bills they called the “Parent’s Bill of Rights.”
In a morning press conference, Sens. Justin Eichorn of Grand Rapids, Michelle Benson of Ham Lake, Paul Gazelka of East Gull Lake, and Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes announced the bills they said would increase school transparency.
They said COVID restrictions and remote learning had hurt children’s primary education, including reading and writing.
Senate File (SF) 2909 aims to ensure schools have a regular system to notify families of children’s activities at school and says schools must not withhold information about their child’s well-being or education.
“It is the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” Eichorn said in a statement. “We have seen the rights of parents eroded over time and replaced by heavy-handed bureaucracy. If we want to improve education in Minnesota, then we need schools that are transparent, accountable, and give parents a seat at the table. Our Parents Bill of Rights empowers moms and dads to have a voice in our children’s education.”
“Parents have the right to know what their kids are being taught,” Benson said in a statement. “It is imperative our schools have a well-planned and transparent curriculum. This legislation affirms what many educators are already doing and allows parents to have the information necessary to help decide what education option is best for their child.
SF 2729 aims to prevent schools from forcing a member of the public to state their home address before speaking publicly. The bill seeks to combat publishing an individual’s private information with malicious intent, such as their home address, a practice referred to as “doxxing.”
“It is a parent’s absolute, fundamental right to be actively involved in what is taking place in their child’s school,” Chamberlain said in a statement. “They cannot be shoved to the sidelines, bullied, or have information withheld from them. That’s happening far too often these days, and we hear the parent outcry loud and clear. This is going to protect their rights.”
SF 1525 aims to create an Education Savings Account (ESA) that would allow parents to set aside money to pay for tutoring, tuition, and other support services with a tax-preferred account.
“Parents have the right to decide the best school for their children, and that right should not be dependent upon race, income, or zip code,” Chamberlain said. “With the last few years of disruption, students need this flexibility now more than ever. Each family should be empowered to help their kids succeed in the ways they most need.”