WASHINGTON — The House passed GOP-sponsored legislation Friday aimed at providing parents with more information about their children's education, marking the congressional Republicans' foray into culture war battles taking place across the country over what is being taught in public schools.
Lawmakers approved the bill in a 213-208 vote after voting on several amendments.
The Parents Bill of Rights Act would require public school districts to publicly post information about curricula for students, including providing parents with a list of books and reading materials available in school libraries. The congressional action comes as some elected Republicans in states across the country have been intensifying a push to ban some books or pressed for limits on teaching about issues related to racial equality, sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Under the measure, schools would be required to offer at least two in-person parent-teacher meetings annually, and school boards would be required to hear feedback from parents about students' education.
Schools would have to publicly disclose their district budgets, as well as the budgets of each school, including revenues and expenditures. They would also have to notify parents of violent activity occurring at schools or at events sponsored by schools.
And in an effort to protect students' privacy, the bill would require parents to consent before any medical exams, including mental health or substance use disorder screenings, take place at school.
Congressional Democrats have voiced opposition to the bill, and the White House has also rejected it in a statement of administration policy.
"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," the statement said. "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."
The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is not expected to take up the legislation.
CORRECTION (March 25, 2023, 1 p.m. ET): A photo caption in a previous version of this article misspelled the last name of one of the lawmakers. She is Elise Stefanik, not Stefani.