The North Carolina General Assembly voted Wednesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 49, known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
The legislation outlines a number of rights that parents now have to their child’s education. But according to Forsyth County Association of Educators President Jenny Easter, these are rights that parents have already had.
"They had a right to be involved, they had a right to get information from test scores, they had a right to know what was being taught," Easter said. "They could go on NCDPI right now and look up all the standards that we have to teach in our classroom.”
She said most teachers send home weekly or monthly newsletters to tell parents about what they’ve done in class or what they’re planning to do. And if they don’t, she said parents could ask for that.
What Easter said worries her, and other educators in the county, is a different part of the law which requires teachers to inform parents if a student asks to change their name or pronouns at school.
“It really messes up the rapport and the relationship, the trusting relationship, that a teacher has with their students," Easter said. "And not in the sense that, you know, we're trying to keep things from parents. But just like a counselor, which we have to be a lot of times in our classroom, you would not get that kind of information from a counselor.”
Easter said educators are also concerned about the potential amendments that could be made to the law now that it’s been passed. With the start of the school year right around the corner, she has a message for parents.
"Trust your teachers to be the professionals that they are, and communicate with them," Easter said. "And you'll know what's going on, and you'll be a part of your child's education.”
Easter will be joined by other education leaders in the community for a roundtable discussion on the new laws impacting education on Aug. 21. The event will be held at the Forsyth County Central Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.