Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Monday that he rejected his party’s “Parental Bill of Rights” for education because it was another example of a big government in Washington flexing its muscle over local jurisdictions.
“The federal government has no role in education,” the Fort Walton Beach Republican told conservative activist Charlie Kirk in an interview.
“I am so frustrated that we seem to be throwing the Constitution out the window, and our semblance of federalism, with the belief that we’re going to make the United States Congress America’s school board.”
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The bill, which faces little chance of passing the Senate, promises parents the right to be informed about what’s going on in local schools that receive federal funding. That includes having better access to curriculums, books, other educational materials, and student disciplinary records.
Yet Gaetz cautioned that those “rights” would be expanded if or when Democrats regain control.
“You may like what’s in the Parents’ Bill of Rights now,” he said, “but when Democrats take over, there’s gonna be the right to have gender blockers delivered by the school nurse to your kid.”
“What works,” he argued, “is what we saw work.”
He was referring to parents rising up at local school boards in places like Florida and Virginia.
“When parents woke up to what was going on in the classroom, they went and flipped school boards,” said Gaetz. “You should not have to flip the entire United States Congress over education policy.”
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“I’m not for any bill, regardless of how well-meaning it seems, if it grows the Department of Education. I would abolish the federal Department of Education.”
Kirk defended the bill, saying the Education Department was here to stay and that parents, especially in Democratic-run states “where they have no rights whatsoever,” need a mechanism to pry information out of school systems.
Gaetz, however, countered that it’s up to parents in those areas to “fix the government there.”
“That’s not an acceptable outcome to say that we don’t like the way people are treated in blue cities and states, that we’re just going to throw the 10th Amendment out the window and say we going to federalize every decision,” Gaez argued.
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“If the Republican leadership in the House thinks that they’re going to use out time here to have the federal government hire local police, rate local DAs, get involved with decisions at local school boards, they’re gonna have to do that without my vote.”
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