Required Parenting Classes?


Our friend Walter Olson at notes a bill proposed by Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-South Bronx) in New York. New York Senate Bill S-142 would require parents to attend a minimum of four days of “parent instructional programs” during the child’s elementary school education years in order for the child to be allowed to graduate or progress to seventh grade.

The state would be required to develop twelve workshops of which at least one would “relate to the subject of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children.”

In addition, the bill would require employers to allow one paid day of leave per year for the parent to attend the classes.


First, there is the issue of whether the state should have a say in parenting at all. Secondly, there is the issue of why parents who are raising good, well adjusted children should be required to attend these classes. Third, it is one thing to make the classes voluntary and quite another to make them mandatory.

Lastly, as Olson says in a post on the subject at the CATO Instute:

Why a state bureaucracy would know more about “parenting skills” than parents themselves is not explained.

“Why” indeed.

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