April 19, 2022

RALEIGH — Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. Until recently, that truth has been unquestioned. Today, the John Locke Foundation released a Parents’ Bill of Rights calling on lawmakers to reaffirm parental authority and influence throughout North Carolina’s public schools.

Locke hopes the new document will inform upcoming legislative debates about parents and education.

A North Carolina Parents’ Bill of Rights would articulate these rights for parents or guardians and define what they can expect from their child’s school community.

 This list of rights includes:

  • Parents have the right to direct their child’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Parents have the right to direct how and where their child is educated.
  • Parents have a right to transparency when dealing with their child’s teachers and school.
  • Parents have a right to a classroom and school environment that is safe and nurtures their child’s well-being.
  • Parents have the right to be actively engaged in their child’s education.
  • Parents have a right to recourse and accountability of school districts, administrators, and teachers.

“Many parents feel increasingly powerless over what their children are being exposed to in the classroom. These feelings have been exacerbated by an increasingly radicalized curriculum and pandemic-era policies, such as the stopping or delaying of in-person school board meetings,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, director of Locke’s Center for Effective Education. “Parents must be empowered to make educational decisions for their children, and should be able to expect full transparency from schools, teachers and administrative staff.”

Parents’ disillusionment with their local school systems has reached a peak, with 66.2% of likely NC voters saying K-12 education is headed down the wrong track. Now is the time to reaffirm parental rights and bolster parental authority in our schools.

The pandemic – and our response – generated new challenges and opportunities for students, parents and teachers. It also showed many parents a system that too many times ignored their wishes and didn’t reflect their interests or values or the best interests of their children.

“The parental rights movement is the natural response to these developments. Parents are frustrated by what they see and don’t see going on in the classroom.  They are tired of being marginalized,” remarks Dr. Bob Luebke, Senior Fellow at Locke’s Center for Effective Education. “Parents are standing up and reminding everyone of their right to control their child’s education and their commitment to working alongside teachers and administrators to give their children the best possible education.  

That enthusiasm should be welcomed by teachers and administrators, and parents’ voices should be heard and respected.”

A Parents’ Bill of Rights would empower parents to be active participants in their child’s education.

Locke’s Parents’ Bill of Rights concludes: “Today too many parents feel their voices are ignored or muted by a system that does not esteem parental authority, honor, accountability mechanisms, or respect current ethics and professional standards. A Parents’ Bill of Rights can help parents regain their rightful place as the primary decision-makers over how their children are educated and raised. In so doing, these efforts can once again empower parents and guardians to be the best advocates for all those entrusted to their care.”

Read the Parents’ Bill of Rights at JohnLocke.org