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Public schools will have to post notices on parents' rights in education

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A new bill signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer will require schools to publicly post advisories about parents’ rights and the role of religion and morality in education.

Public schools will have to post notices regarding parents’ rights and a clause from the Michigan Constitution on the role of religion and morality in education. That’s under a bill signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The bill was sponsored by some of the Legislature’s most conservative Republicans and landed on Whitmer’s desk amid controversies over teaching about sex and race in schools, which have become a GOP hot button issue in this year’s election season.

The new law will require schools to post a statement lifted from the Michigan School Code. It says parents and guardians have a “natural fundamental right” to direct their children’s education. Also, schools and state and local school offices will have to display Section One from Article Eight of the Michigan Constitution. It says “religion, morality and knowledge” are necessary to “good government.”

The law says these two provisions must be posted in schools:

Section 1 of Article VIII of the Michigan Constitution of 1963: Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Section 10 of the Revised School Code: It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children.

The areas where these are supposed to be displayed include where school boards meet (including any room where the Michigan State Board of Education meets). Also, offices of local school districts, intermediate school districts, and charter schools. The provisions would also have to be included in manuals and other training materials for employees of the Michigan Department of Education and the state Board of Education.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.