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NEA Asks Senate Democrats to Reject So-Called Parents Bill of Rights in Defense Authorization Bill

The provision, included in the bill that funds and sets policy for U.S. military installation schools, disregards educators’ experience and expertise.
Submitted on: November 30, 2023

U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator: 

You may have already seen the attached letter from the members of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, outlining our strong opposition to the so-called Parents Bill of Rights in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We understand that the provision is still an active subject in negotiations. As organizations that represent more than 4 million educators, including those at Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools around the world, we are reaching out to emphasize the harm this measure would cause if enshrined within the NDAA.  
We ask you to reach out to leadership and oppose Sec. 651 of the House-passed NDAA, the DoDEA Parents Bill of Rights. 
We reject this provision because: 

  • It ignores the healthy communication and interaction between educators and parents that already exist in DoDEA schools, where educators are sensitive to maintaining an open dialogue with parents because of the special challenges military-connected students face. The provision is not only unnecessary; it would sow distrust and antagonism, with students caught in the middle. 
  • Parents and educators consistently work together in DoDEA through school and installation advisory committees, school boards, and the School Liaison Officer program—a link between schools, parents, and command—on issues related to curriculum, learning resources, and other matters. 
  • This provision amounts to an unfunded mandate and would be costly as each school will have to create new websites to display all the materials listed as requirements, instead of addressing important issues parents and teachers agree on, such as adequate staffing, mental health support, and school infrastructure. 
  • In last year’s NDAA, the DoD was required to submit a report outlining current parental rights in DoDEA schools. We should not get ahead of that by creating policy while awaiting the report’s results. 

Including the provision in the NDAA would also set a dangerous precedent, as Republicans seek to move elements of H.R. 5, the broader measure, in any legislative vehicle possible. This would keep the threat of such provisions alive for all of K-12 public education, communicating to educators that despite their expertise, experience, and dedication, they cannot be trusted to work with parents and communities to determine how best to teach and support students. These sentiments would exacerbate a shortage of educators that has become a five-alarm fire throughout our nation. 
Please stand with us in steadfastly opposing the so-called Parents Bill of Rights provision within the NDAA and inform leadership of your objections to it. 
Marc Egan 
Director of Government Relations 
National Education Association 

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.