Transparency in public education has been a growing concern for parents in public schools. Because of this, the majority of states within the U.S. this year have proposed legislation looking to further parental rights in education. Arizona is one state that recently passed sweeping legislation to vastly expand the rights of parents to know anything and everything their children discuss inside schools.
According to The Associated Press, Arizona’s Republican Governor, Doug Ducey, signed a bill into law on April 29th that extends parental rights in education. The governor signed the piece of legislation into law without comment. HB 2161 is touted as being a leading measure in the push to give parents more school transparency. Steve Kaiser, a Republican Representative in the state said that the bill was a vital necessity. He made note that parents have long been able to discuss matters with educators, but says there were few resources available to them if they felt their children were being led astray.
The new parental bill of rights will give parents access to literally every aspect of the child’s education experience. Teachers and school counselors will be required to tell a student’s parents anything the child may disclose to them, regardless of confidentiality. Furthermore, the parental rights bill gives parents the right to sue a school district if information is found to be withheld from them.
The Governor, along with the GOP-controlled Republicans in the state’s chambers praised the bill as a promise to give control back to parents. More and more, parents are taking a concerned stance over the state of education. These advocates have taken such a heart to the situation, that they show up in droves to school board meetings across the nation.
Cathi Herrod, the director of the Center For Arizona Policy, celebrated the passing of the parental rights legislation. Herrod said the new law would safeguard children from “activist school officials” while nurturing family relationships. Many parents feel that teacher indoctrination is a growing issue in schools. Social accounts like Libs of TikTok have grown in popularity. These accounts draw media attention to educators caught allegedly sneaking divisive concepts into classroom discussions. Many parents argue that some teachers are pushing their political stances on young children.
On the other side of the spectrum, many Democrats criticized the governor’s decision to make the parental rights bill law. Many lawmakers said the bill could put some children at detrimental risk. Unfortunately, not all parents always have their children’s best interests at heart, and some feel this law will further at-risk kids’ attempts to seek outside help. Senator Christine Marsh spoke of this during a recent Senate debate. Iterating the legislation’s possible negative effects, she said “Once they realize that anything they tell a counselor or a teacher is going to go to their parents, some of them, potentially a lot of them, will just simply stop talking.”
Regardless of the implications, parents unanimously agree that it is vital for parents to play a role in their children’s education. Because of this, there are now over 80 bills within various states looking to further parental rights. So far this year, Florida has already passed two pieces of legislation in reference, along with one in Georgia. As Arizona joins the group, more states are likely to soon follow suit.