Poll: Voters Don’t Think Schools Should Hide Gender, Name Changes from Parents

Teacher in Class

Nearly two-thirds of voters think parents should be informed if a student wants to change their name or pronoun at school.

According to The Center Square Voter’s Voice Poll conducted by Noble Predictive Insights, the majority of likely voters say they disagree with allowing schools to affirm a student’s gender change without notifying parents.

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Gender Doctor Says Parents Who Oppose Transitioning Their Kid Have ‘Mental Illness’

Harriette Wimms

Psychologist Dr. Harriette Wimms told attendees at a medical training summit in 2022 that parents who do not affirm their child’s gender identity have a “mental illness,” according to audio obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The discussion took place at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) 27th annual training symposium in Montreal, Canada, on Sept. 17, 2022. Wimms, clinical director for The Village Family Support Center of Baltimore, suggested in a WPATH lecture on autism that parents who don’t affirm their children’s decisions are “transphobic” and have a “mental illness,” according to audio obtained in a public records request.

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Federal ‘Home Visiting’ Program Classifies Parents Who Don’t Let Young Kids Cross-Dress as Potentially Abusive

Father Daughter Playing

A federally funded “home visiting” program advises service providers to watch for signs of abuse against “gender-diverse children,” citing parents who deny their young child the “right” to cross-dress as an example, a document shows.

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program is intended to combat abuse and neglect while promoting “positive parenting” and school readiness among “pregnant people and families” with young children who are at-risk for “poor maternal and child health outcomes,” according to its website. The guidance offered to government workers who visit homes at the request of families categorizes steering a child away from “gender expression” that does not correspond with his or her biological sex as abuse.

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Parents Outraged After Trans-Identifying Boy Wins Girls’ Irish Dancing Competition, Heads to Worlds

A teenage boy who identifies as a girl is heading to the Irish Dancing World Championships after placing first in the U14 2023 Southern Region Oireachtas competitions. Parents of girls competing in Irish dance are frustrated and outraged, saying that they cannot understand why a boy with physical advantages is allowed to dance against their daughters.

“Oh, my gosh. It’s going to make me cry,” said one mother, whose daughter danced in the same competition as the trans-identifying boy in the Dallas, Texas, event. “I never thought I was going to have to deal with this. And my heart breaks for my daughter and the other girls that are having to deal with this. They are too young to have to deal with topics that are going on in society, that are adult topics, that they don’t quite comprehend yet.”

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Commentary: UN Undermines Parental Rights by Pushing Gender Ideology

UN General Assembly

On Dec. 10, the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document drafted in the aftermath of World War II under the leadership of American first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Much has changed since then, including the world body’s understanding of children and of parental rights.

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Education Secretary Says He Doesn’t ‘Respect’ Parents Thinking ‘They Know What’s Right for Kids’

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona took a jab at certain parents who are standing up for their children’s education by stating that he does not “respect” people who are “misbehaving in public and acting as if they know what’s right for kids.”

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Commentary: Parents Must Teach Their Kids Discernment

Entertainment today is extremely accessible. We can watch videos and read articles whenever we want. Each of these pieces of media, however, has its own ideology. But often, we do not even notice this ideology that is being presented to us, or the underlying assumptions of the creators.

As Frances Schaeffer explained: “The results of [people’s] thought world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of the dictator’s sword.” Everything people create is the product of their worldview, so being able to recognize the underlying beliefs in media and entertainment is an important skill.

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Commentary: The Economic Benefits of School Choice

It’s back to school for Florida students and many others across the country this week. The first days and weeks of a new school year are always filled with anticipation, adjustments, transitions and growth for parents and students. Yet, this school year’s “firsts” for an expanding pool of families also includes the first time that their children will have the resources and freedom to enroll in the school of their choice. The short and long-term consequences of these new opportunities aren’t just experienced within the four walls of a home or school building, or by the families now empowered to pursue them – the impact of education choice stretches across communities and economies, helping to unleash prosperity and growth that benefits everyone.

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Biden’s DOJ May Be Working with Leftist Group to Silence Parents Again, America First Legal Warns

A conservative group is demanding answers about whether the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden is repeating its 2021 strategy of targeting concerned parents after the Southern Poverty Law Center just added concerned parents to its “hate map.”

SPLC staff have met with Biden at the White House, and the administration has adopted the “book banning” rhetoric many activists use to slam parents concerned about sexually explicit books in school libraries.

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SPN Poll: Majority of Parents Say Teachers Regularly Stray from Course Curriculum

The vast majority of parents in a new State Policy Network poll say public school teachers regularly deviated from set school curriculum to interject their own personal views and feelings over the past year.

In all, two out of every three parents polled in the survey of 2,014 respondents said teachings strayed from what was supposed to be taught, and 25% said they actually had a problem with a public-school teacher on the issue over the last 12 months.

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California Bill Would Enable Therapists to ‘Emancipate’ 12-Year-Olds from Their Own Parents

On Tuesday, Democrats in the state of California advanced a bill that would allow therapists and other mental health “professionals” to have children forcibly removed from their homes and placed into state custody without the consent of the parents.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the State Senate’s Judiciary Committee approved Assembly Bill 665, which passed by a party-line vote. If the bill became law, children as young as 12 would be legally allowed to check themselves into state-run shelters with the unconditional approval of a therapist or counselor, and without the parents’ knowledge.

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Commentary: Breaking Down the Biden Administration’s Political Weaponization Higher Education

The Media Research Center (MRC) has revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is using the “Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program” to single out and vilify political opposition- effectively criminalizing freedom of thought and free association. This is the same DHS that has classified the American people’s personal “thoughts, ideas, and beliefs” as “critical infrastructure” and “cognitive assets.”

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Commentary: Let Parents Opt-Out of Low-Performing Schools

Single mom Shinara Morrison discovered homeschooling by accident. When public schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself taking the lead on her child’s education to fill the gap.

Morrison never withdrew her son, who was 7, from the public school system. But she supplemented his online instruction with custom coursework that blended academics and life skills. Morrison had no formal training as an educator, but she had special insight as a mother.

“I had a little cheat sheet in my head,” she says. “I knew his learning style.”

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Commentary: Parents’ Bill of Rights Is How Congress Can Help State School Reformers

The stunning success of conservative education reform across the country in the past few years is the result a moral fact: Parents are children’s primary educators. Until very recently, this was not disputed, let alone controversial.  

But lately, it has become clear that progressive elites who run teachers unions and school boards, the Democratic Party, and the corporate media no longer share this view. Their contempt for parents’ rights has fueled a long train of abuses, from racist curricula to a war on girls sports and bathrooms to darker episodes of criminal cover-ups and student grooming. 

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House Passes Legislation to Give Parents More Say in Their Kids’ Education

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation on Friday aimed at giving parents more of a say in school curriculum and more control in their children’s education.

In a 213 – 208 vote, the House approved the Parents Bill of Rights, which would require school districts to annually post their curriculum online, allowing parents to review the materials. The bill, considered the “Politics over Parents Act” by Democratic politicians, moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to pass.

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Wisconsin Assembly Passes Bills Requiring Schools to Get Transparent on School Crimes

Sick of the recurring violence going on in classrooms, hallways and gymnasiums, parent Kate Bertram last week told the Wauwatosa School Board that the “new pandemic in Wauwatosa schools is a lack of accountability.” 

A Republican-led bill passed Tuesday in the Assembly demands more accountability from Wisconsin’s schools in tracking crime. 

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Commentary: Schools Are Pushing Gender Pronouns and Hiding It from Parents

A new report reveals students in the nation’s largest school districts are encouraged to change their names and pronouns without parental knowledge, even though those same schools require parental approval for over-the-counter medicine.

The report, released by The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), found that “eight of the nation’s 20 largest school districts allow students to use names and pronouns at school aligned with their gender identity without parental knowledge and consent,” said DFI.

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SPN Poll: Parents Support School Choice

More than six out of every 10 voters with children under 18 would be receptive to the prospect of their child attending a school outside of their locally zoned public district, a new State Policy Network poll finds. Overall, the SPN State Voices opinion poll of roughly 2,000 registered voters conducted in partnership with Morning Consult through online interviews found that 62% of respondents said they would interested in such an option, some 30% of them very much so.

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Commentary: Teachers Don’t Want to Tell Parents What’s Going on in Classrooms

Do parents have the right to know what their children are being taught in public school?

Parents say yes; teachers say no.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. The description of the latter party can be tweaked to “teachers unions” — although you don’t hear many individual teachers bucking the union line — but the dichotomy remains: parents want to know what’s going on in their kids’ classrooms, and teachers, administrators, and their union bosses would rather not tell them.

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Commentary: A Republic if You Can Teach It

President Biden has a civics lesson that he is fond of and regularly repeats. It is about how the United States is unique in the world because of the founding ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

“Unlike every other nation on Earth, we were founded based on an idea,” he notes before adding that “while we’ve never fully lived up” to those principles, “we have never given up on them.”

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Commentary: The Civil Disobedience of Raising a Family

In case you haven’t noticed, times have changed, and somehow, those who hold to traditional societal norms have become the new face of counter culturalism. As this is unfamiliar territory to those on the traditional end of the spectrum, a few lessons are needed in how to live up to this new moniker. One of those lessons is how to engage in civil disobedience.

If you’re like me, the phrase “civil disobedience” conjures up images of bra-burning hippies protesting Vietnam and demanding that society “make love, not war.” But in a world where up has become down and good has become evil, civil disobedience no longer means we must take to the streets and chain ourselves to some inanimate object. In reality, the best civil disobedience we, as members of the new countercultural movement, can perform is right in our own homes, raising our families.

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FBI Whistleblower: ‘Nobody I Know Signed Up’ to Investigate Parents Who Vented at School Board Meetings

An FBI whistleblower who was recently suspended said in an interview this week that he became a whistleblower last November because of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s email ordering the FBI to use Patriot Act counterterrorism tools to target parents at school board meetings.

Special Agent Kyle Seraphin, who was indefinitely suspended on June 1 after nearly six years with the Bureau, said that he was so disturbed by the directive, he went to his congresswoman’s office in New Mexico, and made a “protected disclosure.”

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Major Teachers’ Union Supports Keeping Students Sexual Secrets from Parents

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the largest teachers’ union in the country, demonstrated its support for teachers maintaining a level of secrecy around students’ sexual behavior, such as their so-called “gender identity,” even if it includes going so far as keeping such information from their parents.

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Commentary: Teachers’ Unions Politicized U.S. Schools, Not Parents

When voters were asked by Pew Research, prior to the 2020 election, what issues were most important to them, education wasn’t even among the top dozen.

But things have changed dramatically since then. Outlets ranging from The Washington Post, to ABC News, have identified education as a potentially significant factor in the 2022 midterms. Additionally, after education emerged as a defining issue in Virginia’s gubernatorial election last year — ranking as a top two or three issue — school choice became a litmus test issue for Republicans.

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New Study, Experts Debunk Trans Activists’ Child Suicide Claims in Puberty Blocker Debate

“Would you rather have a dead daughter or a living son?”

That’s the question that transgender activists and “gender-affirming” therapists and physicians often hold over parents’ heads when they refuse to allow their gender-dysphoric child to take experimental puberty blockers and long-term cross-sex hormones.

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Commentary: Parents Are Catching On to the Goals of Public Education

A recent viral video from the YouTube channel Fleccas Talks showed several man-on-the-street interviews testing young people in New York City on their knowledge of basic facts. Some of the questions focused on American history and civics, while others were simple, numerical-based ones. The results were depressing, as the following samples demonstrate:

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Conservative Candidates Win Big in Wisconsin School Board Races

Eric Bott

A lot of Wisconsin parents are not happy with their local school boards. Conservative and Republicans candidates for school boards did well in their races Tuesday, many of them new challengers who unseated longtime incumbents.

“Last night was a great night for parents looking to take back control of their children’s education and for liberty-oriented candidates generally,” Eric Bott with Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin told the Center Square.

The Wisconsin Republican Party said party-backed and conservative candidates won two-thirds of the races where they were active.

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‘Cynical Symbolism’: Biden’s Education Department Issues New Rules to Crush Charter Schools

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing new policies that make it harder for charter schools to survive while strengthening the power of teachers unions, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The newly proposed rules, which apply to the Department of Education’s (DOE) 2023 budget, will make it more difficult for charter start-ups to qualify and receive funding from a $440 million federal charter school program by requiring charter schools to prove there is a demand for education not being met by other institutions like public schools. The guidelines will consequently give teachers unions more control over education, experts told the DCNF.

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Commentary: Parents Can Fight and Defeat Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory sign with a table of books

Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was, but now the phrase is a common one in American households. The Marxist-based theory advocating a race-essentialist approach to education, law, public policy, and even health care, seeks to deconstruct the foundations of society and rebuild it as “antiracist,” while discriminating against whites along the way. Many people are overwhelmed with both the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the large task of fighting it.

Parents in Loudon County, VA, have tackled the issue head on, making national news by loudly criticizing CRT and electing school board members opposed to it. Such efforts, however, have been piecemeal nationwide.  

Momentum in fighting this hate-doctrine is growing, though, and many parents want to know how they can protect their children and eradicate such teaching from their local schools. Catrin Wigfall, a Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, offers some practical ways parents can fight CRT.

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Commentary: Revitalizing K-12 Education with 10,000 New Charter Schools

The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.

Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.

Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.

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Commentary: Mike Rowe Scholarship Highlights the Lost Virtues of Hard Work and Sweat

Tracy Wilson is sitting in the cutest little ranch house in this Calvert County town. It is her dream house—literally her dream house, she explains, as she has had the image of this very home in her mind, down to the color scheme of the exterior.

It is 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the single mother of two just got home from another dream—her job. She spends her days working as an instrumentation technician in the flight test program at Boeing.

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State Superintendent, State Representative Dismiss Parents’ Concerns in Wisconsin Schools

Wisconsin’s state superintendent of schools and at least one Democratic state representative are dismissing the parents who turned out at the Capitol on Thursday to ask to be more of a part of their children’s education.

State Superintendent Jill Underly issued a statement before the parents appeared in front of the Assembly’s Committee on Education saying the parents are taking sides against teachers in the state.

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Wisconsin Democratic Lawmaker Deletes Tweet Claiming Parents Should Not ‘Have a Say’ in Public Education

Wisconsin State Representative Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) on Thursday echoed claims expressed by many Democrats that parents should not “have a say” in their child’s public education.

“If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their pocket,” she wrote in a tweet that she later deleted.

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New Iowa Bill Would Allow Parents to Watch Kids’ Classrooms

An Iowa representative introduced Tuesday a bill that would allow parents to watch live footage of their children in public school classrooms.

“I think we need to showcase the great work our teachers do,” Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, a farmer, told The Center Square in a phone interview Tuesday.

He said that through the COVID-19 pandemic, parents learned they wanted to be more involved, and this is a mechanism of facilitating parental involvement.

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Commentary: Critical Race Promoters Are More Odious than Marxists

Of late, Fox News has been hosting a series called “The MisEducation of America” featuring gatherings of critical race theory’s critics—such as Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University—focusing on the danger of teaching racially divisive versions of American history. According to Swain, a black professor of political science at Vanderbilt, forcing kids to do things like play games called “privilege bingo” are “a prime example of how CRT, has seeped down to K-12 education, and it disturbs students.” Further: “All of these critical theories with Marxist roots are destroying American education, and parents have to save their children. But they also have to work to save other people’s children.”

Although the media and our universities may choose to ignore Swain’s complaint, she is actually understating the problem she and “MisEducation” host Pete Hegseth are featuring. I’m not sure I see “the Marxist roots” of the crusade against white people and their history in quite the same way Swain and Hegseth see it. We are indeed witnessing class warfare but not of the kind that Marx foresaw. It is a war being waged by white elites against the “basket of deplorables,” the predominantly white, working-class, and small-town Americans whom these elites hate and want to divest of human dignity. Similar conflicts are going on simultaneously in other Western countries, featuring equivalent social conflict.

In none of these cases do we find Marx’s appeals to the proletariat to rise up against those who control the means of production. In fact, we are witnessing exactly the opposite. An alliance of corporate capitalists, feminists, the LGBT lobby, and black race hustlers are directing their fire on the working class, which seems to be the least affected by the hegemonic ideology of wokeness. If anything, we are now looking at what Pedro Gonzalez has characterized as “the counterrevolution of the ruling class.” If Marxist theory, which supposedly is “seeping in” has any application, it would be as an analysis of how our elites are suppressing those they are stepping on and trying through increasingly vicious hate speech to isolate.

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GOP Lawmakers Demand Ouster of Education Secretary over Reported Role in Targeting Parents

More than 40 House Republicans are calling for the ouster of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona after a report of his apparent role in a national schools group’s calling some concerned parents “domestic terrorists,” while 24 GOP senators are asking the nation’s top education official for answers.

The push comes after Fox News reported earlier this week on emails indicating that Cardona solicited a highly publicized letter to President Joe Biden from the National School Boards Association asking that officials apply the Patriot Act and other counterterror tools to dissenting parents.

An NSBA email said the letter to Biden was a “request from the secretary.” Cardona denied having anything to do with the group’s letter.

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Nearly 60 Percent of American Parents Are Concerned With What Their Kids Are Learning: Poll

Roughly 6-in-10 parents are concerned about the current quality of American education, according to a survey conducted by an education advocacy group.

An overwhelming number of parents believe they should be able to determine what their kids are taught in the classroom, according to a Free to Learn (FTL) poll. Concerns over COVID-19 mitigation measures, Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and virtual learning have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

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1619 Project Creator Says She Doesn’t ‘Understand This Idea That Parents Should Decide What’s Being Taught’ in School

The 1619 Project Creator said she doesn’t understand the argument “that parents should decide what’s being taught” to their children in school on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

The 1619 project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a writer for The New York Times, and it promotes the idea that America’s ‘true founding’ occurred when slaves arrived in the colonies, framing the history of the country around race and slavery.

“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” Hannah-Jones said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science,” she said.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Vetoes Classroom Transparency Proposal

Parents across Wisconsin will not get to see everything their kids are learning in school.

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed the so-called classroom transparency act.

The idea of the plan was to have schools share their curriculum, lesson plans, and assignments with parents so they knew just what their kids are being taught.

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Majority of School Board Associations Have Distanced Themselves from National Organization

Since the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the White House equating the acts of concerned parents at local school board meetings to “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and requesting federal intervention, the majority of state chapters of the organization have either left or distanced themselves from the NSBA.

There are 49 state chapters that paid dues to the NSBA before the Sept. 29 letter, which sparked backlash from parents, lawmakers and education leaders. Since then, 27 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the NSBA, while 17 state associations have taken further action, according to data compiled by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

The NSBA apologized for the letter and removed it from its website.

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Analysis: Teacher Unions, Parents Gird for 2022 Battles

Protestor with megaphone, talking

Over the last year, school board meetings have become ground zero for the country’s culture wars as irate parents have showed up in droves to decry school COVID closures, mask mandates, and critical race theory, as well as transgender policies.

After political analysts credited a parental uprising with helping Republican political newcomer Glenn Youngkin capture the Virginia governorship this month, these fights show no sign of easing. Both major political parties are already gearing up for next year’s midterm elections with Republicans sensing an advantage and Democrats digging in to defend beleaguered school boards, teacher unions, and the progressive policies they hold dear.

This week, conservative parents and their supporters are expressing new outrage over news that the FBI is placing “threat tags” on individuals accused of harassing or trying to intimidate school board members and teachers. For months, disgruntled parents have angrily targeted school board trustees for recalls across the nation, regularly denouncing union control of the schools as the crux of the problem. Recall attempts against school board trustees have tripled in 2021, targeting at least 216 officials, according to Ballotpedia.

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Commentary: Parent and School Board Tensions Could Be Eased by School Choice

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.

Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.

A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.

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Ric Grenell and Gloria Romero Commentary: A Plan to Deliver Equal Opportunity to Every Student in California

Group of young students working in classroom

When students are armed with a world class education, they can break down barriers and achieve their deepest dreams. However, in America today, big government and big unions are preventing students from receiving a quality education by forcing American kids to attend the school closest to them, even when it is totally failing. There is no school competition for kids who can’t afford to opt-out of the shoddy school they are forced to attend. This policy and practice especially impacts poor and minority children. But in our home state of California, we’ve had enough of failing government monopolies. We are launching a ballot initiative that will deliver educational freedom to every child in the state, regardless of where they live or how much income their parents earn.

We have all seen government schools that transition from safe havens for learning and hope into depressing institutions that fall short of educating tomorrow’s leaders. Parents are mad, taxpayers are frustrated, and our teachers are not supported by their union bosses. Nowhere is that reality truer than in states where big unions—like the California Teachers Association—control political decision makers with massive campaign war chests seized from their members’ obligatory dues. That’s why Fix California has launched a project to put a ballot initiative in front of voters in 2022—to emancipate students from the government monopoly on education.

Currently, in California, residents are taxed exorbitantly at every turn, with the ruling party’s promise that those dollars will ostensibly be spent on improving the state. That’s a lie on many fronts, but it’s especially untrue in education where failing government schools continue to be rewarded by more tax dollars and virtually no accountability. Tax dollars are siphoned off in the form of required union dues and are funneled straight into the coffers of corrupt unions financing campaigns of politicians who ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. It is a crooked cycle that has destroyed government education across the country.

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Commentary: On Critical Race Theory, the Left’s Manipulations and Double Standards Are No Match for the Truth

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

People old enough to remember the academic culture wars of the late 1980s and early ’90s have a special insight into this year’s controversy over critical race theory. I don’t mean insight into the identity politics of the old days and into the identity politics of 2021, though the basic features are the same whether we are talking about the English syllabus in college in 1989 or the equity lesson in elementary school this fall. I mean, instead, the particular way in which liberals have handled the backlash once the trends in the higher education seminar of yore and in the 6th grade classroom of today have been made public. 

Here’s what happened back then. In the 1970s and ’80s, a new political awareness crept into humanities teaching and research at elite universities, casting the old humanist ideals of beauty and genius and greatness as spurious myths, as socially constructed notions having a political purpose. We were told that they are not natural, neutral, or objective. No, they are Eurocentric, patriarchal, even theological (in that they presumed a transhistorical, universal character for select masterpieces). Shakespeare, Milton, Bernini, et al., were not on the syllabus because they were talents superior to all others. No, they were only there because  the people in control were institutionalizing their biases. This whole canon thing, the revisionists insisted, was a fake. As Edward Said put it in “Secular Criticism,” “The realities of power and authority . . .  are realities that make texts possible,” and any criticism that skirts the power and authority that put Shakespeare on the syllabus and not someone else is a dodge. 

They could diversify, then. That’s what the skepticism enabled them to do. They could drop requirements in Western civilization. They needn’t force every student through a “great books” sequence. The “classics” are just one possibility among many others. That was the policy outcome at one tier-one campus after another. 

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Wisconsin School District Announces it Will Keep Parents in the Dark About Kids Declaring Themselves Transgender

A school district in Wisconsin has issued a memo telling employees to not inform parents about their children coming out as transgender.

“[S]taff members are no longer required to seek parental consent prior to honoring student requests to be called by their preferred name and/or pronouns,” an Oct. 19 memo sent to all employees written by Matthew Kaemmerer, the director of pupil services for the Oshkosh Area School District, said.

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In Fallout over National School Board Group’s Letter to Biden About Parents, Ohio, Missouri Depart

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

The backlash from the incendiary language in a recent letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking for federal law enforcement to intervene on outspoken parents at school board meetings escalated this week when the group’s Ohio and Missouri chapters withdrew their respective memberships.

The Missouri School Boards Association in announcing its departure said the national group “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”

The Ohio chapter was more direct, saying in its letter Monday that its departure was a “direct result” of the Sept. 29 letter to Biden.

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School Board Recall Elections in Kansas and Wisconsin on Ballot November 2

by Abbey Smith   One Kansas school board member and four Wisconsin school board members are facing recall elections on Nov. 2. Supporters of both efforts listed the school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons for recall. In the Nemaha USD 115 in Kansas, District…

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