Today, Governor Brian P. Kemp’s floor leaders, Senator Clint Dixon (R – Gwinnett) and Representative Josh Bonner (R – Fayetteville), introduced legislation to establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights to increase transparency in education by ensuring school districts have procedures in place for parental participation in schools.
“At a time when our nation is more divided than ever, we’re leading the fight to ensure parents do not have any barriers which prevent them from playing an active role in their child’s education,” said Governor Kemp. “As the parents of three daughters, Marty and I know students do best when their parents have a seat at the table and their voices are heard and respected. This bill is the product of a months-long, information-gathering campaign which includes the input of superintendents, teachers, parents, and other education stakeholders. At its core, it is about transparency, access, and promoting an engaged partnership between the parent and educators to the ultimate benefit of the student.”
These bills codify parental rights when it comes to their child’s education into law, including the right to access instructional material. The bills affirm a parent’s ability to request information from a principal or superintendent and requires that they provide the requested information within 3 working days. If the principal or superintendent is unable to share the information within that timeframe, they must provide the parent with a description of the material and a timeline for its delivery, not to exceed 30 days.
“I’m honored to be carrying the governor’s legislation to protect Georgia’s students and the rights of their parents,” said Senator Dixon. “This will ensure that there is transparency for parents while upholding best practices for those who work hard to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
“Parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children,” said Rep. Bonner. “This legislation will provide needed transparency and access for parents as they partner with teachers to achieve the best possible outcomes.”
“We appreciate Governor Kemp and his team for leading and encouraging parental involvement,” said Lauren Plair, 1st Grade Teacher at Hahira Elementary School. “The students and their success is the ‘why’ behind what we do each and every day. In order to see students reach their ultimate goals, it is vital that parents and teachers work together as a team! Parents who give their input, time, and dedication to their child’s education create an investment that is valuable to all students.”
State Representative John Carson (R-Marietta) recently introduced House Bill 1158, or the Georgia “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” Through this legislation, Rep. Carson seeks to establish and protect parental rights regarding education, health information and upbringing, as well as enable transparency between schools/school systems and parents. He also seeks to curb special interest groups from promoting teaching materials in public school classrooms without parental consent.
“This initiative is all about transparency and parental involvement in their children’s education as parents have the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children,” said Rep. Carson. “As radicals sacrifice academics and achievement and instead focus on demographics and racial differences, parents need transparency in the school curriculum and the ability to file complaints that lead to resolution. Parents are better than the government when it comes to raising children.”
This bill would affirm that parents have exclusive rights to know what their minor children are being taught in public school, voice their concerns about teaching materials, protect their child’s identity and ensure the safety of their child in school. This legislation would also streamline the current parental rights statutes in an effort to eliminate confusion and provide specific guidelines for government agencies.
HB 1158 would require public school districts to adopt transparency requirements and establish procedures that would allow parents to have greater access to their child’s education, school records, health records and well-being. Under this bill, parents would be able to review their child’s primary curriculum and any supplementary instructional materials. Parents would also be able to object to such curriculum and materials, as well as withdrawal their child from sex education courses. This bill would also ensure greater transparency regarding records for grades, attendance and behavior. Finally, HB 1158 would allow a parent to oversee any health care provided to their child in school unless otherwise prohibited by law. Parents would have to consent in writing to a biometric scan of their child and before any record retention of blood or DNA.
Rep. Carson’s initiative is inspired by parents and advocacy groups from all over Georgia. This legislation is also modeled after Florida House Bill 241, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” law that was signed into law this past summer.
During his 2022 State of the State address, Governor Brian Kemp stated his support for a parental bill of rights for Georgia’s education system.
Representative John Carson represents the citizens of District 46, which includes portions of Cherokee and Cobb counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2011 and currently serves as Chairman of the House Retirement Committee. He also serves on the MARTOC, Transportation, Rules, State Planning and Community Affairs, Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Ways & Means and Intragovernmental Coordination committees. He is also an Ex-Officio member on the Appropriations Committee.