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Midland lawmaker wants to affirm parents' rights in public education

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Annette Glenn

State Rep. Annette Glenn of Midland testifies before a Michigan House committee.

MIDLAND, Mich. (WJRT) - After Michigan Democrats questioned the role of parents in setting public education priorities, a Midland Republican wants to affirm parents' rights.

State Rep. Annette Glenn introduced a bill Tuesday that would require all public schools to post an affirmation of parental rights in their administrative offices and school board meeting rooms.

The affirmation statements would include the following passage from Michigan’s Revised School Code of 1976:

"It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil's parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil's intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment."

The affirmation statements also would include this passage from Article VIII the Michigan Constitution:

“Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.”

Glenn's House Bill 5703 also would require all school personnel to attend an annual presentation about parental rights in public education policy to make sure they are aware.

She believes the bill is similar to other required notices that employers must post for employees to understand their rights under civil, employment, labor and workplace safety laws.

“Sadly, there are politicians and bureaucrats who are hostile to the rights of parents in our public schools – and even worse, they are shockingly open about it,” Glenn said. “These critics should be reminded that parents’ rights are clearly established in Michigan law. This legislation will reinforce parental rights in a very public and prominent way.”

The Michigan Democratic Party make a post on Facebook in January questioning the role of parents in setting public education policy. The post said schools should teach what society needs students to learn rather than what parents prefer.

"Not sure where this 'parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids' is originating," the post said. "The purpose of a public education in a public school is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know."

The Facebook post eventually was removed after significant backlash from conservatives and Republicans around Michigan.

House Bill 5703 has been assigned to the House Education Committee for consideration. It must pass there, in the full House and in the Senate before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can decide whether to sign it into law.

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