Blog   Education | Government | Marriage & Parenting

Congress Considering Federal Parents’ Bill of Rights

Mom and dad sitting at table with daughter helping with homework

The U.S. House recently passed H.R. 5 – Parents Bill of Rights Act, which would help ensure the rights of parents regarding the health and education of their children nationwide. Fifteen states have passed comparable laws, and several more, including North Carolina, are in the process of adopting their own versions.

What’s in the federal Parents’ Bill of Rights Act

This bill ensures various rights that parents and guardians have, specifically in light of their involvement in their child’s education. Schools are required to notify parents and guardians of their rights regarding the education of their children, including the right to:

  • Review (and make copies of at no cost) the curriculum of their child’s school;
  • Know if the state alters its academic standards;
  • Meet with each teacher of their child at least twice each school year;
  • Review the budget, including all revenues and expenditures, of their child’s school;
  • Inspect the books and other reading materials in the library of their child’s school;
  • Address the school board of the local education agency;
  • Receive information about violent activity in their child’s school; and
  • Know if their child is not grade-level proficient in reading or language arts at the end of 3rd grade.

In addition, H.R. 5 clarifies that parents have the right to:

  • Receive information about any plans to eliminate gifted and talented programs or college credit programs in their child’s school;
  • Know if a school employee or contractor acts to change a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name;
  • Know the total number of school counselors in their child’s school;
  • Know if their child’s school operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities that permit an individual whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designed for individuals whose biological sex is female;
  • Know if their child’s school allows an individual whose biological sex is male to use restrooms or changing rooms designated for individuals whose biological sex is female; and
  • Receive timely information about any major cyberattack against their child’s school.

The bill also provides for family educational and privacy rights, the most notable of which is prohibiting schools from acting as an agent of a parent for purposes of providing verifiable parental consent for a vaccination. Finally, an elementary school or middle school must obtain parental consent before changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on school forms; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations

Why These Rights Are Important

Research has strongly shown that when parents are involved in their child’s education, the child has higher grades/test scores/graduation rates, better school attendance, increased motivation, better self-esteem, lower rates of suspension, decreased use of drugs/alcohol, and fewer instances of violent behavior.

Furthermore, each of these rights is designed to help the parent care for their child. If they are unaware that their child is identifying as the opposite sex, they will not know to take any steps to help their child process their gender dysphoria. If they don’t know their daughter’s school allows biological males in the girl’s restroom, they cannot protect her from the dangers that might present. If they don’t know their child received a vaccination, they won’t be able to appropriately handle any medical complications that might occur.

Finally, the education system exists to serve the children and their families, not the political agendas of the teachers or administrators. Parents deserve to know what their children are being taught, as both the ones responsible for their child and as the taxpayers funding the school.

As Kevin Roberts, President of The Heritage Foundation, explains, “These are practices good schools already do. Good principals, teachers, and school boards want parents involved. They want parents to know what books their kids are reading and what’s being taught in their classrooms.”


H.R. 5 has the potential to foster a positive relationship between parents, students, and schools, which would ultimately benefit all three. The U.S. Senate has not yet taken this bill up. In the meantime, North Carolina’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, Senate Bill 49, is making its way through the N.C. House. You can stay up to date on this legislation and others like it by signing up for our email list!


Receive Our Legislative Alerts