DES MOINES, Iowa — Parents’ rights relating to their children’s education has been a widely debated topic. A bill outlining what those specific rights would entail has been introduced in the Iowa Senate.
Senate Study Bill 3079 is sponsored by State Sen. Amy Sinclair (R) from Allerton, who serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee.
The bill lists out several things that would be implemented into law, such as parents being able to know what is being taught to their kids; requiring written permission ahead of time for lessons that contain obscene material; access to information to hold school board members accountable, etc. The bill’s sponsor outlines some misconceptions of the legislation.
“What this bill does not do is ban a book. What this bill does not do is vilify a teacher,” Sinclair said. “What this bill does not do is prevent schools from teaching things that are uncomfortable. But what is does do is put a parent in the driver’s seat of what ultimately their child is exposed to in our tax-funded educational system.”
Democratic leaders oppose the bill. They say it will isolate teachers in the educational system.
“We have a concern with this idea that we are going to exclude teachers from the teaching process overall. Democrats think we need to involve parents, not exclude teachers,” said State Sen. Zach Wahls (D) from Coralville.
Sinclair acknowledged some of the rights in the bill already happen around the state. For example: a teacher meeting with parents to discuss material in the classroom or books. However, Sinclair wants there to be actual language in the law to make sure that parents have the pathway for those conversations.
The bill is set for subcommittee discussion on Wednesday. Sinclair says the bill is facing little to no opposition.