This law can help parents expose critical race theory in schools, conservative group says | News

A A conservative legal group is urging parents to use their rights under a little-known 1974 law that gives parents wide leeway to review the public school curriculum and opt out of routine surveys used by third-party contractors .

America First Legal has described in a guide how parents can use the provisions of the Protecting Students’ Rights Amendment, a largely unknown law that was passed in 1974 and most recently updated in 2002, to view and expose critical race theory and other controversial programs.

“The Student Rights Protection Amendment, 20 USC § 1232h, is an important — but so far little-used — tool for holding administrators and teachers accountable,” the guide says.


In an interview with the Washington ExaminerGene Hamilton, general counsel and vice president of America First Legal, said the law has been “on the books for decades” and “really offers parents the ability to access information at a level that we don’t think they are conscious at this time.”

By law, public schools that receive federal funding must disclose to parents “all instructional materials used in connection with the student’s program of study” and “for inspection” must provide “all instructional materials, including including teacher manuals, films, tapes or any other supplemental materials that will be used in any investigation, analysis or evaluation under any applicable program.”

“Federal law does not mandate a school district to widely distribute the program or do anything affirmatively or proactively — it operates on that kind of concept of demand and you will receive,” Hamilton said, which means that parents will have to take the initiative to invoke their rights under the law.

The provision requiring the disclosure of investigative materials is of particular importance, the America First Legal guide notes, because “some school districts have retained investigative and data mining companies.”

“These companies sell race-focused student and teacher surveys, data management tools, and training on systemic racism and oppression, white supremacy, implicit bias, gender issues, and intersectionality, often under the rubric of ‘Social-Emotional Learning,'” the guide says. “If the parents are involved and oppose it, then no [of] this kind of material should be imposed on children. But if parents are disengaged and silent, the PPRA and other laws are ineffective.”

Social and Emotional Learning is an educational framework that claims to teach empathy to students, but the companies and organizations that provide its material have often linked social and emotional learning to racial justice initiatives and aspects of critical theory. of the breed.

The presence of critical race theory in public schools has been a source of controversy across the country, as parents have opposed its inclusion in school curricula. The theory teaches that American institutions and culture are systematically racist and oppressive towards racial minorities, especially black people.

But parents seeking to invoke the PPRA could encounter resistance from school administrators, Hamilton said, because most schools are likely unaware of their obligations under the law.


If a school refuses to follow the law, parents have the option of filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, which can “terminate federal funding to a school if the school has violated the law and refuses to comply voluntarily,” according to the guide. . Such a complaint must be filed within 180 days of a violation.

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