Georgia lawmakers pass parents’ bill of rights advocated by Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp shakes the hand of Rep. Josh Bonner as he leaves the House of Representatives at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The Kemp ally shepherded a Kemp priority - a parents' bill of rights - through the Legislature this year, with final passage on Friday, April 1, 2022. (Emily Haney / AJC file photo)

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Gov. Brian Kemp shakes the hand of Rep. Josh Bonner as he leaves the House of Representatives at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The Kemp ally shepherded a Kemp priority - a parents' bill of rights - through the Legislature this year, with final passage on Friday, April 1, 2022. (Emily Haney / AJC file photo)

Georgia lawmakers on Friday approved legislation that says parents have a right to see the curriculum used in their child’s classroom.

House Bill 1178 — the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” — now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature after the 31-22 party line vote. Kemp said during his State of the State address in January that he would back a parental rights bill.

The legislation, introduced by Kemp ally Rep. Josh Bonner, R-Peachtree City, guarantees access to classroom “instructional materials.”

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That is curriculum defined by the Georgia Board of Education or approved by a local school board. Such materials are already subject to public review under state law.

Non-approved content, such as news articles, websites and other reference material teachers give students, isn’t covered by the bill.

“This is essentially the curriculum that’s being taught,” Bonner explained at a committee hearing in February. “It does not go into what we would refer to as supplemental materials.”

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He gave an example of what wouldn’t be covered: a video clip of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He didn’t want to make teachers spend time documenting their use of such non-approved material.

“It is not meant to put any additional burden on our teachers,” Bonner said.

Groups that have come to the Capitol to lobby for parent rights were disappointed by that.

Melissa Jackson, state president of the group No Left Turn in Education, said supplemental materials are “the crux of our problem.” She said in an interview that most recent parental complaints she’s heard were about “rogue teachers bringing in supplemental resources.”

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