Friday morning, the House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act (H.R.5), a measure that would guarantee parents a meaningful voice in their children’s education. In a sane political environment, this would not have been a controversial bill. Yet it barely squeaked by in a 213–208 vote. Predictably, the Democrats did the bidding of their teachers union paymasters by unanimously opposing the bill. But why did five Republicans vote against it, particularly considering that it was integral to the Commitment to America on which they ran in the recent midterms?
Some of their names will be all too familiar: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mike Lawler (N.Y.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.). Biggs, you will recall, unsuccessfully challenged Kevin McCarthy in January for the House speakership with the support of Gaetz and Rosendale and turned a routine vote into a weeklong circus. Their reasons for voting against H.R.5 were not as crazy as those offered by the Democrats, at least one of whom suggested that the bill was fascist. Their ostensible objection to the bill is that it undermines federalism. As Buck writes in the Washington Times:
Republicans, newly in charge of the House of Representatives, have decided to weigh in with what they call a Parents Bill of Rights, which will get a vote on the floor on Friday.…
House Republicans are willing to jettison the Constitution and federalism for a bill that elevates the federal government in education. Parental rights and fighting woke education both do well on social media, and many of my colleagues have chosen the instant gratification of social media appeal over the foundational principles enshrined in the Constitution.
This argument is superficially principled, but the congressman knows full well that federalism as it relates to public education was euthanized when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act in 1979. Refusing to vote for the Parents Bill of Rights Act certainly is never going to resurrect it more than four decades after the funeral. Moreover, if a few more misguided Republicans had voted with these five, the GOP would have lost the moral authority to argue on behalf of the frustrated voters who want more parental control over rogue school boards and intransigent teachers unions.
How would H.R.5 do that? Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), its main sponsor, puts it thus: “This bill aims to bring more transparency and accountability to education, allowing parents to be informed and when they have questions and concerns to lawfully bring them to their local school boards.” It codifies five basic parental rights: “the right to know what their children are being taught”; “the right to be heard”; “the right to see the school budget and spending”; “the right to protect their child’s privacy”; and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school. Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers is no fan of the bill:
H.R. 5 has very little to do with actually helping students or parents. Instead, it would require schools to divert their limited resources from teaching, censor education, ban books, and harm children who are just trying to be themselves.…
The true work of partnering to support families and help our kids do well involves having meaningful discussions about the real things affecting our students and what we, as a country, must do to help; that includes supporting our public schools, not divisive, performance politics.
Anything Weingarten dislikes would normally be celebrated by Republicans, but some GOP congressmen are more interested in headlines than actual issues. Gaetz for example, took to Twitter to deliver himself of this nonsense: “I don’t want to strengthen the federal Department of Education. I want to abolish it.… Therefore, I voted against today’s Republican bill to establish a federal ‘Parents Bill of Rights.’” Gaetz knows that shutting down the Department of Education would be all but impossible even if the Republicans regained their governing trifecta. Or has he already forgotten the “repeal” of Obamacare?
Biggs also has amnesia. On his podcast, What’s the Biggs Idea, he said H.R.5 lends legitimacy to the Department of Education: “That’s why I’ve sponsored and others have co-sponsored bills to get us out of the Department of Education.” Rosendale justified his “no” vote with the following bromide: “The answer to an out-of-control education system is not turning more control over to the federal government!” The weirdest Republican “no” vote came from Lawler, who co-sponsored the bill: “Unfortunately, a late amendment to the bill — that unnecessarily targeted certain children — went too far.”
The five Republicans who voted against the Parents Bill of Rights Act are, as our progressive friends would put it, “on the wrong side of history.” A new study published by the Manhattan Institute indicates that indoctrination in critical justice theory is pervasive throughout the public school system. Parents know it and are still getting the mushroom treatment from school boards. This crosses party lines and voters will gravitate to leaders who do something about it. They don’t want bromides about federalism. They want to save their kids. There’s a real opportunity here for the GOP if the cynical opportunists will step up.
* Article From: American Spectator