Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, passed her bipartisan parents bill of rights amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). This amendment reinforces that servicemembers with children in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools have the right to be informed and involved in their children’s education and increasing transparency and accountability in DoDEA schools. 

The amendment adds three major provisions. First, it establishes a list of rights for parents of children attending a school operated by DoDEA. Second, it requires the school board or school advisory committee of each DoDEA school to provide parents with at least two opportunities per year for the parents to address the board or committee about matters related to their children’s educational curriculum. Third, it requires each DoDEA school to follow a specific list of actions that bring forth curriculum, coursework, training, medical, and budget transparency. 

“America’s servicemembers have the right to be informed and involved in their children’s education, and it is unbelievable that some DoDEA educators do not trust with their own children the very men and women in uniform who keep our nation safe and secure. Parents are the primary stakeholder in their children’s education, and decades of research shows that parental involvement is critical to academic achievement and long-term success. We must ensure that those who bravely serve our country are empowered to have the right to be involved in their children’s education,” stated Congresswoman Stefanik. “This Parents’ Bill of Rights for servicemembers will not only encourage parental involvement in their kid’s education, but it will also provide transparency so parents can see for themselves what their children are being taught in schools. Parents absolutely have the right to determine if what their child is being taught is developmentally appropriate and aligned with high academic standards. As our men and women in uniform are constantly looking out for our own safety, I will continue to stand up for them and ensure that servicemember parents have the right to be involved in their child’s education.”

Specifically, this amendment would provide parents of children attending a school operated by DoDEA with the following rights:

  1. The right to review the curriculum of the school.
  2. The right to know if the school or DoDEA alters the school’s academic standards or learning benchmarks.
  3. The right to meet with each teacher of their child not less than twice during each school year.
  4. The right to review the budget, including all revenues and expenditures, of the school.
  5. The right to review all instructional materials and teacher professional development materials used by the school.
  6.  The right to inspect a list of the books and other reading materials contained in the library of the school.
  7.  The right to address the school board (domestic) or advisory committee (abroad) of the school.
  8. The right to information about the school’s discipline policy and any violent activity in the school.
  9. The right to information about any plans to eliminate gifted and talent programs or accelerated coursework at the school.

This amendment also requires each DoDEA school to:

  1. Notify parents of any medical examinations or screenings the school may administer to their child and receive written consent from parents prior to conducting the examination or screening.
  2. Notify parents of any medical information that will be collected on their child, receive written parental consent prior to collecting such information, and provide parents an opportunity to inspect such information at the parent’s request.

This amendment passed on a bipartisan vote.