Ethics Observations On The House Passage Of H.R.5 (The Parents Bill of Rights)

In a 213 – 208 vote, the House approved the Parents Bill of Rights, which would require school districts to post their curriculum online, allowing parents to review the materials. It has many other provisions, none of which unreasonably burden schools, and all of which are aimed at letting parents know what their children are being taught, what speakers are addressing their classes, what books and publications they will have access to, and what special needs and problems are arising that parents should be aware of.

I have read the entire text of H.R. 5, as should you, as should every parent. If there is anything in the bill that is excessive or that forces schools and teachers to compromise their duties as educators, I would be eternally grateful for someone to point it out to me.

The conventional wisdom is the bill will not pass the Senate to become law (I would dare Joe Biden to veto it). I find that astounding, just as I find it astounding, and damning, and signature significance for a party that obeys the dictates of its powerful constituencies, in this case, the teachers unions, to the detriment of the public at large. It is equally astounding that not one single Democratic House member voted for a bill that as far as I can see only establishes by law an obligation to inform parents of what parents want to know, out to know and have every right to know about the content of their children’s education.

Additional points:

  • What is objectionable in bill, and what does it say about lawmakers who would  find its provisions undesirable? Under the legislation, school districts must notify parents of any violence that occurs on campus. Is that a problem? School districts are required to provide parents with a list of materials students can access at the library. Why wouldn’t a school want to do that? The bill mandates that school districts take parents’ input into consideration when drafting policies. The Horror! It requires that school boards respect the First Amendment rights of those who voice their concerns at meetings. Why would anyone oppose that?

  • Under the legislation, teachers are required host two in person teacher-parent meetings per year. That would seem to be a minimal requirement. School districts must alert parents if their child is sharing a bathroom, locker room or sports team with a student of the opposite biological sex. Good. How could one justify keeping such information from a parent?

  • One has to ask: what are teachers, the schools and Democrats trying to hide? If they aren’t trying to hide anything, then why do they oppose transparency and full disclosure to parents?
  • The Democrats’ assault on the bill appears to be detached from reality. Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida said on the House floor that the bill “infringes on parents’ right, including LGBTQ+ and supportive parents. Bills like this make schools more hostile. And make no mistake, it results in hate, bigotry and, yes, sometimes death of our students in schools.” What? How? He might as well have predicted “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” The content of the proposed law in unrelated to what this demagogue is predicting. Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually called the bill “facist”—yes, allowing parents to know what the government is indoctrinating their children with is “fascist”— and said the legislation would out members of the LGBT community “before they were ready.”  “When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism,” AOC ranted.

What the hell is she talking about? The bill’s text doesn’t mention the word “gay.” It doesn’t include LGTBQ.

  • The clear source of Democratic opposition is the conviction that the schools, an arm of the government, know better what is in a child’s best interests than the child’s family
  • Here is  the White House’s  deliberately misleading statement about H.R. 5: “The administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school. Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education.”

 What? Read the bill. This is pure misdirection. How does informing parents about what is going on their child’s school “not actually help parents support their children”? What does that even mean? How does a bill that says nothing about LGBTQ children “put them at higher risk”? Again, the assumption is that school staff is better able to made decisions about children than their own parents. (Somebody explain to AOC what kind of governments think that way.) How is requiring schools to keep parents informed and involved politicizing our children’s education?

I’ll answer that one: it’s “political” to jeopardize the ideological indoctrination in the schools that has served progressives and Democrats so well.

31 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The House Passage Of H.R.5 (The Parents Bill of Rights)

  1. This is the progressive’s Achilles heel. Every person should be demanding specific answers from their Democrat representatives why they voted no on a bill that guarantees transparency in public schools. We cannot accept lame answers about some small group being impacted. Inclusivity also means including the majority and not marginalizing parents interests in favor of their political interests.

      • OK – I don’t know how this is a federal issue. I would like to have the bill passed in my state, but to my understanding, this bill infringes on state rights. Also, like so many other well-intentioned federal mandates, the Democrats will find a way to use it against parents and students.

  2. It doesn’t include LGTBQ.

    I think it’s safe to assume a child asking to change their sex-based accommodations is going to be because they are or believe they are trans (the T in LGBTQ, as we know).

    As for the higher risk thing, the argument goes (as I’m sure you’re also aware) that telling anti-trans parents their kid is trans puts the child at risk of physical or psychological abuse, etc etc.

    Now maybe you think that risk is overblown, or you think it’s good that parents should have the opportunity to correct their kids of this condition, but surely you can’t believe just because the magic keywords aren’t there the bill “says nothing about LGBTQ children”?

    • Nope. I don’t believe that. There is nothing proscribing or penalizing LGBTQ+ children (or thse who think they may be, or those who are being urged to regard themselves that way at all. The law if passed would require schools to inform parents regarding its actions, assumptions and rules regarding how children are treated and how they are segregated or not by gender. Which parents have every right to know about. Calling such a law a “don’t say gay” law is as misleading as calling it “fascist.” If deliberately keeping parents in the dark about their children is seen as some kind of discrimination against LGBTQ nation, then LGBTQ Nation needs to examine its own motives and conduct.

      • I see, if you meant by “says nothing about LGBTQ children” that it makes no value judgments about them, then yes I agree, sorry for misunderstanding.

        But the law would (as hyperbolically worded) involve outing trans kids to their parents, by the provision to obtain parental consent before allowing the child to change their sex-based accommodations (I don’t see how you can obtain such consent without letting the cat out of the bag) and I think it’s the belief that this would cause harm to some children primarily behind these objections.

        • It’s a contrived argument. Why is a child questioning his or her sexual orientation or gender more “harmful” to reveal to a parent than the child’s drug addiction, pregnancy, criminal activity, self-harming like “cutting,” bullying, or any of a thousand other issues with significant life consequences? Schools have decided without reasoning or justification that this single issue, unique among childhood traumas is better handled by schools than families. That’s purely because educators and LGTBTQ activist are politically allied, magically justifying over-riding a parent’s traditional and proper sphere of authority.

          • Mm, well I guess from the LGBTQ perspective, it’s not a childhood trauma, the kids are fine, it’s their parents who are the risk.

            Though I must apologize again, earlier I was trying to work out the potential amount of harm, adding up the amounts for each variation of the parents being or not being supportive and the school telling or not telling, and my maths said that the “school telling” ended up with more harm, but I was working from the “you know if you’re trans and that’s that” baseline, forgetting of course the “kids can be confused and regret transitioning” aspect, which adds more harm to the “school not telling” side… (If I’m making any sense)

            • You’re making perfect sense to me; you’re introducing exactly the sort of conversation people should be having. Per the reconciliation method:
              1. Understand one’s own values (and fears)
              2. Understand others’ values (and fears)
              3. Frame the situation constructively

              The points you raise are a great description of the fears of the people who genuinely oppose the bill. (We can ignore the people who oppose the bill for power-related purposes; they are irrelevant to the values discussion.) After checking with them to make sure we understand their fears correctly, we can demonstrate we appreciate those fears. After all, everyone here wants children to be mentally healthy.

              Only once we establish that mutual understanding and trust via the values conversation can we start talking collaboratively about how to figure out what mental health means for each child, what they need to support their mental health, and how to make sure parents are equipped to support their children. As Jack mentioned, these conversations will go beyond trans issues. I’m working on helping people have more such conversations, because it’s the only way humanity will learn how to work together to build a world we can all be proud of.

    • Virtually in every jurisdiction schools are required to inform CPS or other authority if they have reason to believe a child in their care HAS been or is currently being abused. The assumption that all parents would physically abuse their child for claiming to be confused about his or her gender is pure BS. This is no different than saying we need to outlaw guns because a relative minority of owners may abuse that right. If a teacher has a boba fife belief a child is being abused that teacher has protocols in place to prevent further abuse without resorting to keeping secrets from parents.

      Personally, I have more faith in parents not to abuse their children than I do some overpaid authoritarian who believes he or she is put on earth to do battle with a those believed to be evil. Until someone can convince me that unrelated third parties always know what is in the best interests of a child I will always give the parents far more leeway than some government official.

      Full disclosure: My parents were middle school and high school teachers and I taught young adults as an adjunct at a community college. None of us “loved” our students as so many teachers claim. We cared about them as we care about all other persons but to suggest that such caring could ever substitute for parental love is just ludicrous. Just offer a teacher a Sophie’s choice between having to sacrifice another’s child or their own. The answer is obvious.

  3. Jack,
    You call it misdirection; I call it pure unadulterated GASLIGHTING.
    What else do the neo-fascist woke proglibots have?

    They are (correctly) counting on the average hypnotized sleep-walking citizen/parent to not do even ten minutes of research to see what the heck is going on–with their own kids!
    This is a strategy proven to be highly effective because the MSM talking heads propaganda machine endorses whatever the dems say and that satisfies most *I’mtoobusytocare* parents.

    • Perhaps we could ask Governor McAuliffe about whether parents are too busy to care what happens to their kids in school.

      I forget where I read this comment, but it has stuck in my mind — ‘progressives forgot or did not seem to realize that parents have an unlimited capacity to care about what happens to their kids.’

      This has been and likely can continue to be a winning issue for Republicans and really anyone who cares about the well being of our children.

  4. From listening to some of these “teachers”, it seems obvious they believe the children belong to them (the state), and not the parents. Some have even said most parents are too stupid to manage their child’s welfare or act in their best interests. This bill has a zero chance of passage because the leftists believe as the teachers do.

  5. It is this sort of bill that bugs me.

    You have the feds mandating a lot of stuff down to the States nationwide.

    This sort of bill is just the latest example of why we should get rid of the Department of Education.

    The federal government is completely incapable of enacting policies that must be applied to thousands of school districts across 50 states.

    Unfortunately, this sort of issue exposes the short-sightedness of each side.

    Why are conservatives trying to enact such a law when their position should be to get rid of the Department of Education.

    Why are liberals (Leftists really) opposing this? It was their idea to make Education a federal issue. You would think they would have learned their lesson from No Child Left Behind. If you want policies to be federal, stupid things can happen.

    Both sides are idiots here.


    • Republicans are much more interested in stirring people up by pretending to do something than they are in actually being effective. If people are serious about reducing partisanship and cooling things down, the federal government needs to be shrunk back significantly in size and states need to be able to tailor policies to the populations at a far more local level. Neither party has any interest in doing that because they don’t actually give a rats ass what the voters want. They care about power. Which is why tensions will continue to escalate until the country breaks into pieces or falls into civil war.

      If the republicans were serious about parental rights they would be advocating for school choice and the elimination of the department of education. They are doing neither of those things because it is much easier to virtue signal with pointless bills that they would never pass if they actually had a majority.

      • Well, they do advocate for school choice. But I don’t see the House bill as anything but a natural and fair requirement that should be imposed on the states if they won’t do it themselves. Requiring transparency and open communication with parents? That’s basically a core fiduciary duty, and schools are handling public funds. It’s not exactly a radical concept, or shouldn’t be. It’s an example of ethics failing, so the law is stepping in, or trying to.

        • Republicans advocated for repealing Obamacare right up until they had the opportunity to do so. Republicans advocated for border security right up until they had the opportunity to do something about border security and then they did nothing. Republicans advocate for a lot of things, but there are plenty of states who could be passing school choice laws right now and they don’t seem to be real interested in actually doing it. American politicians have a lot of interest in riling people up and very little interest in actually implementing policies to address the issues Americans are riled up about.

          Wedge issues are lucrative. They yield lots of money and power. They yield clicks on the internet and likes on social media. They give the propagandists in media plenty to wail about and generate lots of anger. What they don’t seem to generate is effective policy.

          Admittedly, I’ve grown cynical. I’m sick of the status quo. I’m sick of politicians playing stupid, dangerous games with people’s lives for their own benefit. I’m sick of the media and the elites benefitting while the voters suffer the consequences of these stupid power games. I’m sick of watching the Alinsky tactics and the psyops work time after time.

          Sure, this bill has merit. Schools should be transparent with parents about what they are teaching their children. The mandatory nature of schooling makes it imperative that people be aware of what that schooling entails. I just cannot help but notice that this legislation is being proposed under a divided Congress where the possibility of it being passed through the senate is virtually nonexistent and the payload is little more than talking points in propaganda media articles.

          I don’t believe the republicans mean it. Quite frankly, I think republican politicians lie every bit as often as the democrat variety. I think both political parties are cesspools of corruption, graft, insider trading, and indifference to the people they theoretically represent’s best interest. I think if republicans had any interest in the propaganda monopoly democrats hold over the schools, they would be spending a lot of time driving school choice laws through state legislatures where republicans hold majorities and less time passing bills that stand zero chance at becoming national policy.

          • Your last sentence? Some of that – particularly school choice – is happening in my state. It’s a beautiful thing and we need more of it.

            • There are 32 states with republican control over the state legislature. Only about 5 of them have actually passed any legislation advancing school choice.

          • Quite frankly, I think republican politicians lie every bit as often as the democrat variety.
            No doubt about it.

            To be fair, the GOP would have repealed Obamacare except for a bitter Republican senior Senator who knew he was dying and who decided it was more important to stick it to the man (who happened to be his party’s President) who had insulted his military record than to do what he had claimed was important for his country.

            • John McCain has a lot to answer for in the afterlife, starting with his poor academic performance due to laziness and arrogance, continuing with his lousy treatment of his first wife, and finally his abuse of his political position for personal aggrandizement, i.e. pursuing vendettas against others rather than representing his constituents. I dunno if he’s earned a permanent place in Hell’s frying pan next to Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy, but I’d say he’s earned about a thousand years in Purgatory before God considers letting him into Heaven.

    • I understand the sentiment of wanting to eliminate the Department of Education. I’m actually in agreement with it. But I happen to think this bill – just based on what I’ve heard because I haven’t read it…yet – is a first step in exposing the Department as the bankrupt entity it is. It also helps expose the left side of the political spectrum as hypocrites and equally bankrupt. Requiring school districts to publish curriculum is a simple way to give some power back to individuals…in this case, parents. In my opinion, if Education is abolished as a department, it will not likely be a decapitation strike, but more of “death by a thousand cuts.”

      Maybe this is the first cut. And it’s a good one.

    • Jut

      I would like to see smaller government, but until that happens some legislation to check government power could be a stop gap until we finally realize that we cannot afford 51 trillion of debt.

      This bill could effectively neuter the Dept. of Education by forcing local school districts to report to parents some of the new rules they impose that ordinarily get by under the radar. By putting some sunlight on these rules parent who may not have the time, inclination of even the understanding to go through the Federal Register to see the promulgation of these new rules. It would also force bureaucrats to consider the public’s reaction and not rely on the public’s inability to readily access information that is material to their children’s development and the community at large. we require banks to disclose all sorts of information regarding the details of a loan and restaurants to provide calorie information so why should the government be an exception to the ideals of full disclosure. To me the is merely a consumer protection bill that falls under the aegis of the Department of Commerce and not Education.

      If school districts employ lawyers and specialists to keep abreast of Federal and state regulations so that they can give teacher and administrators a heads up on various rule or curriculum changes then it should be able to give that same information to the taxpayers. The only other option is for the government to fund the same specialists for taxpayers. To me that would be redundant and wasteful.

  6. For an old states-rightist like me, the true sadness is that the local and state governments haven’t acted on this matter (and many others) long before now. You know, enumerated powers, like the Constitution says. But, here in post-Constitutional America, that fussy old document is but a minor impediment to the communists in the land.
    I have been active in a number of local, regional and state political campaigns since the 1980s, and have come to know many of the candidates (both incumbents and challengers) personally. I can state with utter certainty that only a minority of them, despite their likely protestations to the contrary, remain dedicated to the causes (and voters) that got them elected in the first place, or to following through with making the changes they declared vital and pledged to make once they got into office. Holding political office is such a process of cooptation for most people. The so-called conservatives have “gone along to get along” until there seems to be little left to conserve. The principled liberals have allowed their Democratic efforts to be hijacked by the radical “social justice” mob. Special interests and money control both parties, top to bottom.
    I contact elected officials regularly about a variety of issues, both personally and on behalf of organizations to which I belong. I always make my communications polite, short and to the point, usually containing a bullet list of items, and often a reminder of the official’s prior stated position on the matter at hand. Except from those who know me from a campaign, I seldom get more than a perfunctory “Thank you for contacting us.” message. I get particularly aggravated by members of my state legislature when they ask for input on an upcoming committee or floor vote but seem to have their minds made up despite the amount of public input they get to the contrary of their eventual vote. These legislators depend heavily upon the short memories, attention spans and naivety of the voters to maintain office.
    I know it is cliched to say so, but obtaining and maintaining power really do become the primary objective for many if not most politicians at every level of government. That’s why it is so necessary to diligently limit the power that they do have, as our Founding Fathers so wisely intended and demonstrated in the Constitution. How intellectually poor we are to imagine that we know better than they!

    • Great comment — sad but unfortunately has the ring of truth.

      It is not hard to understand why many Republican voters have become disenchanted with their party and their leaders. There is a direct line from McCain to Romney to Trump. His election should have been a teaching moment to everyone in the establishment. Unfortunately the blowback was so over the top that it would appear not much was learned (certainly on the left, but perhaps some did in the GOP).

      I think 2016 showed us what could be done, but 2020 (and 2021 and 2022) showed us that Trump is no longer the answer. I do believe that the first debate in 2020 may have ultimately cost him the election, and then his coming down with Covid (and the various reactions) might have been the final nail.

      Trump in 2020 showed us all the things that should have cost him the nomination in 2016, all the minuses that we know he has. I think running him again will be the same, only worse. We need a new face to bring the GOP into a new era. For heaven sakes, the country has been obsessed with retreads for a quarter of a century or more — and now they’re all so old!

      The presidency is a killing job — we really, really need to elect someone young enough to effectively act out that job and escape with his life.

      I am not as apprehensive about the country’s future as I was just after the 2020 election, but I’m also not so hopeful as during 2018/19 when things looked like they were largely on a better track.

      I would like us to confine our fascination with the royal family to the British one. We decided early on that we wouldn’t have kings or a hereditary executive and we need to stick to that.

  7. These are the Progressive talking points against HR5

    “Washington, D.C. — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. rejected a bill today to take critical resources away from public schools, force local school systems to promote Christian and charter schools, and make it easier for extremists to ban educational books for any reason. The bill, the Parents Bill of Rights Act or H.R. 5, forces public school systems to adhere to Republican-based demands or lose federal funding for school nutrition programs that feed nine million schoolchildren. It encourages school districts to ban books about diversity, such as biographies about civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. or discussions of same-sex marriage. In addition, it compels schools to report any violent incident, regardless of severity, instead of funding effective school requests for programs to make them safer.

    “This bill is another Republican attempt to destroy the American public school system,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. “They call it the Parents Bill of Rights Act, but it should be called the Politics over Parents Act because it makes parents decide what schools should teach instead of trained educators. I am extremely upset about the bill’s push to ban books that discuss the rich history of diversity in American society and failure to fund effective safety measures in our schools. All American children deserve schools that are safe and supportive environments to receive a quality education, learn about their culture, and not worry about gun violence.” ” From a link on


    I want to point out that his teacher training does not train teacher WHAT to teach they educate potential teachers on the various theories of how children learn and techniques and methods to address learning styles. Those wishing to teach at the secondary education level will take additional subject matter courses in their preferred area.

    Curriculums (or what to teach) are developed outside the training environment. Learning objectives will be established by state and local academic officials who are indirectly hired by the populous when they elect a new governor who then appoints a Secretary of Education who promulgates rules and direction for local school boards. Much of what is in the elementary curriculum is a predicate to what employers are demanding of HS & college graduates. It is like building a house, the foundation must be laid well to support all that that is built upon it. If a child cannot read at grade level by the third grade it will be like a house built on sand that will ultimately crumble upon itself without extensive remediation later on. Unlike classical education where reading dominates, and the student is guided to an understanding of a human condition or how the events of history affected governments and societies, today’s education involves being able to pass a variety of fact-based multiple-choice tests. Ask most any public-school student today to assimilate several ideas on a particular subject and develop an idea on what could be expected as an outcome, you will be given a blank stare.

    To my knowledge very few trained educators are on school boards. As an analogy to demonstrate the failure of the logic that states only teachers are wise enough to determine what should be taught is the notion that only programmers should determine what programs should be computer users and “trained” systems analysts never need to consult with end users on developing systems that increase productivity because the systems analysts are trained experts.

    Representative Payne is engaging in exactly the type of activity that we do not want in our schools. His comments are sheer demagoguery designed to mis-educate his constituents. Furthermore, the track record of public-school teachers to get students to be proficient in what is needed in society is unfortunately not very good; especially in places that are highly vocal about promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

  8. Does the “conventional wisdom” that this bill won’t make it through the Senate sufficiently consider Manchin and Sinema?

  9. Just a couple of observations: for Republicans to advocate for the elimination of the Department of Education at this moment in time would be a sure-fire loser and provide the opposition with even more ammo to paint Republicans as ‘extreme MAGA.’
    On public schools advocacy for keeping parents in the dark, I find it especially ironic that separating parents from their children is good for students’ safety and well-being but horrific for illegal immigrants.

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