Parents – not administrators, not politicians, and not activists – should be the ones who guide their children’s education. They should be able to raise questions about the curriculum and easily find out what is happening in the classroom. They should be able to trust that no one else is trying to guide their child to a life-altering health decision without their knowledge and consent. And they should be able to move their child to another school if that would improve the child’s education and opportunities.
These are all a given in elite private schools. No parent would pay this price of a new car every year for their children’s education and not demand transparency and accountability from the school. But for children in public school systems around the country, the level of respect for parental rights can vary from state to state and even from district to district.
Fortunately, there are states that are working to change that. Several states have embraced broader school choice, transparency, and parents rights legislation. And now, Texas may be ready to join them.
The Texas Senate has passed two important education bills:
SB8 is a combined parental rights and school choice bill. It provides an education savings account of $8000 per school year, provides funding for smaller public schools for five years after a student leaves for private school, prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, allows for free transfers between public schools, establishes timelines for public school grievance policies, enables parents to request curriculum reviews, and requires parental consent before changes can be made to students’ health and wellness activities. It is, in short, a powerful tool to give students better choices in education while still protecting the right of parents to guard against classroom indoctrination.
SB9 increases teacher pay, with a special raise for teachers in districts with 20,000 students or fewer. The bill is an effort to show appreciation for the hard work of teachers as well as to reduce the salary gap between rural and urban teachers.
These are all important bills, which take a vital step towards protecting parents rights and improving our schools. But getting through the Texas Senate isn’t the end. We need the House to give these bills a hearing as well. So far, both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Public Education. If you’re a Texas resident, please contact your representative and let him or her know how you feel about these bills. If you’re not from Texas, contact your own state legislators and urge them to promote school choice and parents rights.
And no matter where you are, please pray for all the parents who are struggling to improve their children’s education and fighting to protect their rights.
We need to take strong action to improve our schools, put a stop to classroom indoctrination, and provide more choice for students. Are you with us?