I have always believed in parent’s rights in education. I do not coparent my children with the public school system. If something is going on with my child, I must be informed. Whether my son expresses a desire to live as a girl or has taken up Christianity, this is not something a public school can keep from me. They must be proactive in alerting me to life-altering changes in my child’s life—cognitive, emotional, physical. I need to see the curricula of his school, and I need to understand the pedagogy employed in delivering that curricula. This is not because my knowledge of things as a college professor outstrips the minimal education and understanding of most public school teachers and administrators (even though it does). It is because I am the parent of my children. I also need to know what books are in the library and whether these books are age-appropriate, or whether they were selected to serve an agenda that works contrary to the interests of my family.
I have many times confronted teachers and administrators over the way they were misleading and mishandling my kids (I have curated example here and here). My experience with teachers and administrators when I was coming through school provided me with a front row seat to the mediocrity of public education. That experience told me that I could not uncritically and without diligent oversight put my children in the hands of public school teachers and administrators. While adequate public school teachers are not unicorns, they are quite rare. They were just as rare when I was coming up as they are now. However, there is an additional problem with the today’s situations: curricula and classroom have been corrupted by postmodernism and crackpot theory. Anti-white bigotry and trans flags were not items in my schools growing up.
I have supported public education all these years from principle. But that is not enough to cause me to defend the curricula and quality of instruction in today’s public schools. Indeed, I’m thinking we may need to tear it all down and start over. This is why I am supporting the massive expansion of Florida’s school choice program that would make all students eligible for vouchers. The measure is headed to Ron DeSantis after the Republican-controlled Senate passed the measure Thursday. In a 26-12 vote along straight party lines, senators gave final approval to the measure. The House passed the measure last week. DeSantis has pledged to sign the proposal, which includes removing income-eligibility requirements that are part of current voucher program.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries
Note the party line vote. The single greatest obstacle to reforming public education is the Democratic Party. In the past, I have picked my spots with this party. With the Republican Party increasingly embracing the democratic-republican beliefs and liberal values that animate my politics, and with the Democratic Party completely out of touch with anything remotely resembling an acceptable way forward, I have an entirely different outlook moving forward. If I were on the fence about all this, I wouldn’t be after learning that every single Democrat voted against the Parents Bill of Rights Act, which passed the House without a single Democrat voting for it. But I confess to having climbed down off that fence for a few years now. The Democratic Party is not merely a lost cause. The party is destructive to the American republic.
As if Democrats voting in lockstep against parents rights weren’t bad enough, party members took to their microphones to argue that the bill promotes “fascism” and the “extreme” views of Republicans. Like the Parental Rights in Education signed into law in Florida last March, the House bill is aimed at allowing parents to have greater control over what their children learn in schools, including the ability to remove age-inappropriate books from public school libraries and requiring teachers and administrators to tell parents when their child is questioning his gender or sexual orientation (see Why It Harms the Liberty of Neither Teachers Nor Students to Restrict Ideology in the Classroom). You might ask why, if public schools were not pursuing an agenda of indoctrination that favors progressive politics and the Democratic Party, Democrats would oppose the bill, let alone smear Republicans for standing up for parents.
Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed Parental Rights in Education, March 28, 2022
The House bill is a response to growing concerns across the country about school curricula, safety policies, and the prevalence of gender ideology and critical race theory in classrooms. Such concerns have been portrayed as a far right phenomenon. Recent protests and angry school board meetings were used by the Biden administration’s Justice Department to justify mobilizing the national security state apparatus against parents.
First, the government has no business treating citizens as if they are domestic terrorists. Second, the characterization of the objection to the hijacking of public schools by progressive activists as “far right” obscures the point that many of those parents are on the political left. I am one of those leftwing parents who finds the development over the last several years in public schools to be entirely contrary to the interests of the social class with which I stand, the proletariat.
So the House Republicans have approved the Parents Bill of Rights Act, which would give parents access to school curricula and reading lists and require schools to inform parents if staff begin encouraging or promoting their child’s gender transition. These are necessary reforms. Tragically, there is little hope for the bill in the Senate. Moreover, we find ourselves in a historic moment where the party of the administrative state and the technocratic apparatus is pulling us into one of the most undemocratic situation this nation has ever experienced These are the developments that make it necessary to vote Republican this year and next.