Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the government must stay out of children’s education, which he called the “great equalizer,” at a press conference to reintroduce the “Parents Bill of Rights Act.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, New York or North Carolina or even California. It doesn’t matter, the color [of] your skin, your wealth. When you have a child that is the most important thing in your life,” McCarthy said at the press conference. “And one thing we know in this country is education is the great equalizer.”
McCarthy was joined by a number of other Republican representatives, including House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Rep. Julia Letlow, R-La., who initially introduced the bill along with 73 Republican co-sponsors.
McCarthy emphasized the “five pillars” upon which the bill is based, including “the right to know what’s being taught in the school”; for parents to be heard; “the right to see the school budgets”; “the right to protect your child’s privacy” and “right to be updated on any violent activity at the school.”
“We want the parents to be empowered. And that’s what we’re doing today – that you have a say in your kids’ education, not government,” McCarthy said.
The House speaker also touched upon the recent attacks on parents amid the expansion of controversial curricula in schools, including the addition of critical race theory. McCarthy mentioned how “parents were attacked, called terrorists” as they sought to engage in school board meetings.
“There is nothing more life-changing than becoming a parent,” Stefanik echoed McCarthy during the event. “I am the proud mom of Sam. As Kevin mentioned, Sam is 18 months, so I’m the newest mom in Congress and we are proud to be standing up for families, for parents, for grandparents. But most importantly for kids across this country.”
Stefanik, who welcomed her first child in August 2021, delved into her passion for education, having initially wanted to join the Education and Workforce Committee when she was first elected to Congress.
The “Parents Bill of Rights” is preceded by a number of state bills seeking to expand parental rights in the classroom and blocking various concept materials from being instructed.
Most notably, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took heat from Democrats after passing a parental rights bill in 2022 that banned teachers from giving instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.