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Majority supports parental rights bill

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — A majority of U.S. voters support Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, according to a new  POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of registered voters.

The bill, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature, bars educators from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with young elementary school students (kindergarteners through third-graders). Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has praised the bill and is expected to sign it into law.

The poll finds 51 percent of respondents approve of the measure, with 35 percent opposed. And 37 percent “strongly support” what opponents have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Another 52 percent support limiting lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity after third grade to “age appropriate” discussions, with 33 percent opposed, according to the poll — conducted between March 11-14.

Forty-one percent of respondents are in favor of allowing parents to sue school districts when educators are accused of violating the law, while 43 percent oppose such lawsuits.

Wisconsin’s Senate last week passed a Parental Bill of Rights measure that codifies the rights “reserved to the parent of a child without interference from the state or other governmental entity.” Parents would have the right to:

› Be informed of crimes on school grounds.

› Determine a child’s medical care

› Review instructional materials and outlines

› Decide what name and pronouns their child can use at school

› Engage with locally elected school board members of the school district a child attends

Parents also would have the right to sue school districts that violate the law.

The bill is part of a package dubbed the Empowering Parents Agenda, passed by both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature. Measures include breaking up the failed Milwaukee Public Schools  into smaller districts, universal expansion of the state’s parental school choice program, and more accountability requirements.

Gov. Tony Evers is expected to veto the bills.

“There is a crisis in our schools, especially in MPS,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hill) chair of the Senate’s Education Committee, “It is heart-wrenching to watch the governor and Democrats blocking reforms while there are MPS schools that are failing our kids. Unfortunately, they are giving up on another generation of children in Milwaukee.”

Wrong track

The same POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds continued polling problems for President Joe Biden amid record gas prices, inflation at 40-year highs and a foreign policy crisis in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Biden’s approval rating is at a meager 41 percent, and 56 percent of U.S. voters disapprove (42 percent strongly disapprove). Worse yet, more than two-thirds (69 percent) believe the country is on the wrong track.

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