Breaking News
More () »

Missouri Senate education committee to hear bill on parents' roles in school

A measure being considered would give parents influence over what's being taught in classrooms.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Should parents have a say in what their kids learn in the classroom?

That’s what a Missouri Senate education committee will discuss Tuesday when lawmakers take up the 'Parents Bill of Rights' measure in Jefferson City.

The Parents Bill of Rights measure would create rules school officials must follow, allowing parents to learn about and influence the curriculum. The bill also imposes new rules on school boards, making officials subject to civil suits if they fail to meet transparency standards.

House Members voted 85-59 last week to advance the bill to the Senate. The measure gives parents the right to review instructional material and visit schools while classes are in session.

School districts found to be non-compliant could see state funding withheld.

The bill's sponsor says the measure recognizes parents as the “ultimate authority" of their children's education when it comes to subject matter and content in the classroom.

Supporters argued that the bill is needed to prevent classrooms from being used to indoctrinate children. But critics said the measure could have a chilling effect and might scare educators away from having difficult discussions about race and American history.

Similar language has been advanced in Republican-led legislatures in states including Florida and Mississippi.

The Missouri bill comes as Republicans across the country have been raising money by saying critical race theory is a threat.

Critical race theory is an academic framework that examines how racism has shaped public policy and institutions such as the legal system, and how those have perpetuated the dominance of white people in society.

The Missouri legislation doesn't mention critical race theory but alludes to the concept.

The Parents Bill of Rights would also require school boards to establish a public comment period during board meetings, with a time limit of no less than three minutes per speaker.

Any revisions to the bill in the Senate would send it back to the House.

Before You Leave, Check This Out