Legislation establishing the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which requires Missouri school districts to provide information to parents about the curriculum. and bans the teaching of certain diversity-based topics, such as critical race theory, goes to the State Senate.
On Tuesday, members of the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development voted 6-3 to move the bill forward, with all three Democrats voting against.
The legislation is multifaceted, with several issues pertaining to K-12 education. Two provisions concern transparency. The bill would require schools to allow parents to access or copy educational documents. It also gives them the opportunity to receive other information, including guest lecturers and school contracts.
The second provision requires the creation of a “Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal” that will give citizens access to the curricula, textbooks, and source materials of each school district.
“I think with transparency, parents can have more confidence in the public schools they send their children to,” said Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, committee chairman and sponsor of the bill, during a public hearing last week. .
In addition, the bill also bans the teaching of certain curricula, often defined as critical racial theory. This bill will prohibit the teaching of the following concepts.
- That people of any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior
- That people should be treated unfavorably or favorably based on their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.
- That people, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for the past actions of others.
A parent may file a complaint with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education if they believe the school district is in violation of the rules, which will result in a hearing between the parent and the school district conducted by the Board of Education.
Any public school or public charter school that is determined to be in violation of the rules will be subject to litigation or other form of damages, and to an administrative fine of $500 per incident.
Koenig said he chose this path rather than defining what exactly is CRT within the law.
“I define activities that were offensive, like things that shouldn’t be taught in schools. And some people might say it’s not a CRT, and some people might say it is. But at least we know what is forbidden,” Koenig said.
Democrats on the committee repeatedly opposed the law. Senator Doug Beck, Democrat from Affton, said he thinks the bill will make teaching in the state more difficult.
“I think this will be another hurdle for the growing problem that we are currently facing in trying to keep our teachers in the classroom and get more qualified people to come and teach our children, it will be another burden on them. pass,” Beck said.
Senator Greg Raiser, Kansas City State, said elementary and high schools do not teach critical race theory, which is more commonly taught in law schools.
This law is one of many already proposed in relation to access to the course curriculum and a ban on Critical Race Theory. The bill, passed by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, was a replacement for Koenig’s original bill and is a combination of three Senate bills. Now he is heading to the Senate in full force.