Republican lawmakers have introduced a new bill – “The Delaware Education Right to Know Act” – which would protect parental rights in schools and bring more transparency to the state’s education system.
The legislation, House Bill 326 introduced earlier this month, gives parents, guardians, and other educational stakeholders more information and opportunities to evaluate public and charter school education in Delaware and to express concerns to school officials.
The bill comes on the heels of several issues that were raised to our news department from parents in school districts across both Kent and Sussex Counties. The bill’s primary sponsor, State Rep. Charles Postles says the bill is about providing parents with a greater insight into their child’s education.
“This bill has been a while in the making, mostly from parents that have expressed some concerns about what’s going on in schools,” Rep. Postles said. “Discussions actually started before COVID, but when we went into the virtual, remote learning, parents got an insight into the classroom and what is happening more than they had before. And it kind of opened their eyes as to what some of the situations were and peeked their interest and said we need to know more.”
The result of the conversations with concerned parents is the result of this bill, according to Rep. Postles who emphasized that, while the bill protects parental rights and would provide parents with a greater insight into their child’s education, it does not interfere with teachers.
“Teachers are the trained professionals and I have a great deal of respect for the teachers,” Rep. Postles stressed. “We’re not trying to interfere with their professional teaching of the students.”
The legislation creates a mechanism for parents to be more engaged in schools by mandating that school officials create time for parents to have the opportunity to sit down with their child’s teachers and learn more about the curriculum and what’s being taught to their children. It also allows for parents to challenge school districts who refuse to hand over information pertaining to their child’s education, requiring school officials provide specific information to justify why the request was denied.
TV Delmarva News also got a chance to speak with one of the bill’s co-sponsors, State Rep. Lyndon Yearick who said parents have a right to know what their child is taught and this legislation would provide them with that mechanism to become more involved in their child’s education.
“Parents, guardians, grandparents, whoever is responsible for that son, daughter, or grandchild, they need to build that relationship with their immediate teacher, they need to be involved with what goes on in school, and they need to be involved with the administration,” Rep. Yearick said. “Being engaged with what goes on at the school board, being engaged at school board elections. The legislation just wants to reaffirm, stress, and mandate that parents definitely, first and foremost, need to know what’s going on.”
The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee and is expected to be considered next week.