Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeEducationRepublican Governors Look To Benefit From Parental Education Movement

Republican Governors Look To Benefit From Parental Education Movement

Key Highlights

  • In recent years, there has been a growing movement among conservative politicians to elevate the role of parental control in public schools. 
  • This movement has gained traction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as parents have become increasingly frustrated with pandemic schooling and their lack of control over their children’s education.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy introduced the “Parents Bill of Rights Act,” which would require schools to publicly post their academic standards, curriculum, school budget and spending, and a list of books available in libraries. It would mandate two parent-teacher conferences each year.

While the bill is set to die in a Democratic-controlled Senate, it signals to parents that they can play a crucial role in controlling the chaos and choosing what they want their children to learn.

This strategy is already playing out in real-time in red states across the country as Republican governors pitch sweeping K-12 overhauls seizing on the parental education movement.

For example, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced a 144-page proposal that would boost starting salaries for teachers, provide performance bonuses, and allow teachers up to 12 weeks of maternity leave. 

Similarly, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has established a slew of controversial policies – like banning books that centre on racial and ethnic minorities, prohibiting discussions about LGBTQ issues, barring efforts to increase diversity and equity and gutting anything that smacks of critical race theory.

Families Are Allowed To Use Taxpayer Funds

Republican Governors Kim Reynolds of Ohio signed into law last month a massive $345 school choice bill allowing families to use taxpayer funds to cover private school tuition up to about $7,600 a year. In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott revealed his plans to support a bill that would establish education savings accounts to help families who opt out of public school afford tuition at private schools and other education expenses.

This strategy is set to continue in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, where GOP presidential hopefuls have already begun jockeying to control the space. 

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