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The Republican-led House voted to pass its Parents’ Bill of Rights on Friday with zero Democrat votes after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it ‘fascist.’ The controversial bill, which gives parents a stronger role in what’s taught in public schools, is not expected to be taken up by the Democratic-majority Senate.
Critics denounce the legislation saying it has led to book bans, restrictions aimed at transgender students and unhinged board meetings nationwide.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Republicans were ‘keeping our promise, our commitment to America, that parents will have a say in their kids’ education.’ The bill passed 213-208, with five Republicans – primarily members of the House Freedom Caucus – Reps. Matt Rosendale, Mont., Ken. Buck, Colo., Matt Gaetz, Fla., Andy Biggs, Ariz., and Mike Lawler, N.Y.
It would require schools to publish course studies and a list of books kept in libraries and affirm parents’ ability to meet with educators, speak at school board meetings and examine school budgets.
‘[Parents] now have a say in your kids’ education,’ McCarthy told reporters after the vote. ‘You get to know what the reading materials are’
Biggs told DailyMail.com he voted no on the bill because ‘it violates the principals of federalism and the federal government is already too involved in education issues.’
McCarthy slammed Democrats as an ‘extreme minority party’ for voting against the education bill.’
‘[Parents] now have a say in your kids’ education,’ he told reporters after the vote. ‘You get to know what the reading materials are.’
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the ‘fascist’ bill would target LGBT youth and censor racial content.
‘When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism,’ she said on the House floor. The New York Democrat told Republicans to ‘keep the culture wars out of classrooms.’
‘Parents want schools focused on reading, writing and math, not woke politics,’ Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., said during an earlier debate.
Advocates for LGBTQ people said the proposal threatens LGBTQ students by potentially forcing them to come out to their families, which can sometimes lead to abuse or abandonment.
‘It’s part of a pattern of attempts we’re seeing where the right wing of the Republican Party is really trying to marginalize LGBTQ people,’ said David Stacy, the government affairs director for Human Rights Campaign, to the Associated Press.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York promised the bill would meet a ‘dead end’ in the Senate and called it ‘Orwellian to the core.’
The bill follows a core GOP promise from the midterm campaign to fight against ‘woke’ education trends like critical race theory and gender theory.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the ‘fascist’ bill would target LGBT youth and censor racial content
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY, looks on as Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, speaks during a news conference on the introduction of the “Parents Bill of Rights”
GOP-led House narrowly approved the Parents Bill of Rights over concerns that the bill makes it easier for parents to ban books, while supporters say it gives access to curriculum
It would require parental consent before ‘changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.’
It would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require schools to provide a list of books available in their children’s library and to post curriculum publicly.
It requires parental consent before medical exams at school, including ‘mental health or substance use disorder screenings.’
Parental rights have launched to the forefront of conservative politics since COVID school shutdowns. It was central to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s successful campaign against Democrat Terry McAuliffe in 2021.
“We’ll fight against this legislation. We’ll fight against the banning of books, fight against the bullying of children from any community, and certainly from the LGBTQ+ community,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said.