A spokeswoman for former Republican senator and current Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue said Monday that the candidate wants a Parents’ Bill of Rights.

This, after Atlanta Public School (APS) officials announced Saturday that they will operate virtually this week for all students and all staff. APS officials said the district’s most recent COVID-19 data prompted the decision.

Perdue said in a statement that he does not want this virtual start of the school year to turn into another extended school shutdown. He said such policies set children back academically.

The Georgia Star News asked Perdue spokeswoman Jenni Sweat on Monday what, if anything, the candidate would do to address the matter if he was governor.

“David wants to have a Parents’ Bill of Rights, a way for parents to have a say in their child’s education,” Sweat said by phone.

“Whereas right now these decisions are being made unilaterally by school boards without input from parents. We want to make sure the parents are empowered to have a role in their child’s education.”

Sweat did not elaborate.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a Parents’ Bill of Rights bill in November. Hawley said at the time that his bill, if enacted into law, would empower parents to sue federally funded schools that do not protect certain basic rights. Those rights include the right to know what schools are teaching their children and what outside groups receive school contracts.

APS spokesman Seth Coleman declined to comment.

Officials who oversee school systems in DeKalb, Fulton, and Clayton counties tweeted that they will also hold virtual schools this week.

Research recently revealed that remote learning led to declines in test scores in English and math when compared to the scores of schools that had more in-person learning. This, according to a paper that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published in November.

Leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to close in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, but many schools remained closed throughout the 2020-2021 school year. NBER’s research said remote learning had a negative impact on students’ test scores in English language arts (ELA) and math in 12 states studied.

Declines in scores were smaller for students who continued in-person learning. The research combined “district-level schooling mode data from the 2020-21 school year,” “district-level test score data from 2015 to 2021,” and “demographic data from the NCES,” according to the study.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]