Leigh Sloan: Parents’ rights in education shall not be infringed

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By LEIGH SLOAN

Terry McAuliffe, the recently comfortable Democrat governor of Virginia, thought he had his reelection in the bag. It had been over 10 years since the state of Virginia elected a Republican governor, why would they start now?

The last issue he might have predicted to be his undoing would have been education. Education was not an issue that was polling high on the list of voter priorities early in the campaign season. And yet, McAuliffe’s opponent was savvy enough to pull back the curtain to McAuliffe’s real beliefs about education and the distain he held for parents.

When asked about the idea of parents having a say in the education of their children, McAuliffe spoke these fateful words, “I don’t think parents would be telling schools what they should teach.” He doubled down on his view that boards of education should supersede the parents’ right to a voice in the curriculum.

Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe’s opposing candidate, then took his opportunity to clinch the election by saying “You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.” Suddenly education rose to prominence in the minds of voters and Youngkin swept that election with the results coming in on Nov. 3. Youngkin beat McAuliffe.

Thank you, former Gov. McAuliffe, for saying out loud what we suspected that many politicians, school board members, and educators all across the nation have been thinking for centuries: Education would be great if it wasn’t for those meddling parents — those “birthing individuals” who owe their offspring to the state so that the state can decide what is best for them. 

We all know great teachers and great administrators in the public school system who really do care, and are not actively seeking to undermine the parents’ role in the education of their children. We thank those who have worked hard for our children and have supported their parents and families. However, this does not mean that we should shut our eyes to the nefarious intent of some in education to destroy the authority of the cornerstone of civilization: the family. 

Even 10 years ago, we might have found it curious that parents’ rights in education would even need to be defended. Today, every right we thought we had seems to be a candidate for the chopping block. What you may not realize is that ideologies that diminish the role of families in education have been around since the foundation of American public education. 

Horace Mann, the first Secretary of Education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (in the mid 1800s) had this to say about education. “We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause.” 

John Dewey is well known and commonly lauded in higher educational institutions as the Father of American Education. He had this to say: “The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone will be interdependent.”

Dewey was also a signer of the original “Humanist Manifesto” of 1933 which asserted the idea of “religious humanism.” Dewey’s goal was to make humanism the official state religion through the route of education.

Today we are still experiencing the fruit of humanistic pedagogy  seeds that he has sown. Parents and family advocates are are just now waking up to realize that if they don’t act now, their children will indeed be “given as hostages to the cause.” 

Alaska Parents’ Rights in Education (https://www.facebook.com/groups/alaskaprie/) is a chapter of a National Parents’ Rights in Education nonprofit organization that is designed to protect the rights of parents in educational institutions all around the nation. It is one of many organizations that have popped up in response to the concerning trend we are seeing in education. 

Thankfully, our own Gov. Mike Dunleavy recently affirmed the rights of parents in his administrative order. He specifically affirmed parents’ right to interact with school boards and parents’ rights over medical decisions concerning their own children. 

November is Parents’ Rights in Education month, and this year it came at an opportune time. It came at a time when we as parents and people who care about families are seeing the essential rights of the family unit called into question and usurped by government institutions. 

We are elevating and affirming these rights at a Parents Rights Celebration on Monday, Nov. 15 at 6 pm on the 4th floor commons area of the Loussac Library in Anchorage.

We will hear from our Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, newly elected Mat-Su School Board member Jubilee Underwood, home educator and Anchorage Assembly candidate Stephanie Taylor, and Anchorage School Board candidate Mark Anthony Cox, among other community leaders. 

Find our more on our Facebook event page at this link.

We will give everyone the opportunity to sign the Parents’ Rights in Education Proclamation. You may also access that proclamation and sign here: https://www.parentsrightsined.org/prie-month.html

Leigh Sloan is home-schooling parent, former public school educator, and founder of the Brave Nation Podcast that helps influencers create significant cultural reform. She serves as the co-chair of Alaska Parents’ Rights in Education.

26 COMMENTS

  1. This is an argument for improving the quality of the public school educational system, not necessarily giving control of it over to parents. Think of all the different theories, philosophies, religions, personal moral codes, and behavioral patterns exist from family to family. Do you want control of the educational system to be dictated by the socialist down the street, or the red neck, or the Hindu? How about the black family? The American Native family? The newly minted American citizen from Colombia?
    Unfortunately we have public school systems that have evolved into one-size-fits-all educational schemes. They don’t necessarily teach kids to think critically, to explore the subjects of their curiosity, or to develop into independent, competent young citizen of the United States and the world. Turning these tasks over to the parents of students who make the most noise, wish to force their philosophies upon all, and want to abolish critical thinking will only make things worse. Adding religious philosophies will likely only make things worser. Adding ideology will likely make it more worser.
    I don’t know what the solution to this problem will be, but putting it into the hands of parents looks to me to be like putting control of the law in your neighborhood into the hands of vigilantes, the fire department into the hands of firebugs, and the hospitals into the hands of whomever claims he knows what medicine is all about and everyone else is a quack.
    It’s time to let the professionals do their work. Politicizing educational systems will not turn out well, and if you think that it might, imagine what will happen when the other guys get into office, because, sooner or later, they will.

    • “The other guy” has been in for a long time, and while “the professionals” have been doing their “work,” Alaska has experienced plummeting test scores and skyrocketing STDs.

      I hope Alaska Parents’ in Education will check the bookshelves in every school library in Alaska and remove the filth that aims at sexualizing and corrupting our children.

    • I’m curious: have you ever worked in education? I have.

      I’m also curious: do you have kids that have been in public education in the last 25 years? I have.

      Most of your post is the same hysterical ranting I heard people on the hard left use for years. As they did exactly what you are preening against.

      Most education administrations are far left radicals. A large part of the faculty, too.

      If “professionals” did their jobs correctly, ie teach kids, this would not be an issue. But they don’t, so here we are.

      • If professionals were allowed to do their jobs correctly, i.e. teach kids, they would get results.
        A modest proposal: Let the teachers act as professional associates do in a law firm or a medical practice. They hire new teachers, they set curriculum, they hire administrators, they select course material, they run the show. That’s what they have spent a minimum of four years in college and numerous continuing educational courses learning how to do.
        They certainly are more qualified than most school board members, and they wouldn’t have to deal with all the Art Chance-like political machinations that they currently face and need to try to negotiate.
        And pay them an appropriate, professional salary. When you go to the doctor, do you question him about why his bill is what it is? You know, or at least hope, he is worth it. In Anchorage, teachers are over worked and underpaid. Most thinking new teaching students won’t come here because the pay and, especially, the retirement benefits are so bad.
        But that’s now how we do it here in Alaska. We don’t care how they do it Outside. We’re happy with our underpaid, overworked teachers because they don’t cost us much money. We have a bargain basement system and we getting what we pay for. And then we gripe about it like The Masked Avenger because we don’t get stellar results.
        Or we could do what the Finns do. If the MA truly is curious, he should check them out. I’m not holding my breath.

    • How can you justify “let the professionals do their work” when you acknowledge the current public school systems run by those same professionals are failing to teach critical thinking or develop competent citizens?

      It’s a fundamental right and duty for parents to advocate for their child or family, and this includes policies or curriculum advocated by activist “professionals” blessed under a broken system. Your prejudice, fears, and strawman arguments to maintain the status quo ring hollow in comparison.

      • I am most definitely not advocating for the status quo. Teachers are failing to teach critical thinking because they are being constrained by parents and school board members who don’t want students to do so.
        Every time you take a book out of a school library, you are removing a point of view that might inspire critical thinking. The world is a big place and if a student is constrained by the small world in which he lives, he cannot grow. Most of what I am seeing with complaints about our school system are attempts at limiting the amount of knowledge a student can have access to rather than increasing it. Without access to differing opinions, children become neither educated nor capable of critical thinking.
        Every time an intelligent course of study is eliminated from the curriculum, the world becomes smaller for students. This eventually leads to non-thinking, mediocrity, and stagnation. We have more than enough of that already.

    • Thank you for admitting you don’t know what to do Neanderthal. Try trusting parents who have a vested interest in their children’s education to work out the best solutions – rather than “professionals” (many of whom are good people even) who too often have an agenda that is contrary to the parents’ and even children’s best interest. I’m sorry for you that you have such a tough time respecting parents – I think I understand what you are dealing with from your postings. Burying parents’ and children’s rights, needs, and desires to make them subsidiary to a consortium of socialist dictators who want to fundamentally change America and Alaska through the propagandizing of our children while denying them the life skills they need to succeed in the workplace environment is morally and criminally WRONG. Hold them accountable parents.

      • My experience with parents is that the ones who complain the most and shout the loudest know the least. And they always think they are right. Unfortunately, most of those meeting that description in Anchorage are way, way right.

    • When the ‘professionals’, as you so state, Homo, are left to do their work, within that they ‘educate’, rather than ‘indoctrinate’ unto that of one of such as yours wishes, then critical thinking can truly be attained, based upon basic education versus a somehow more social construct…

      Your above post is beyond the pale within the racist and judgmental criteria that one such as yourself professes to rail against, yet fully profess within support of your own position…

      You obviously have not even considered that parents, no matter their background, simply want their children to be fairly educated within the most basic of educational constructs, no matter their background…

      So, Homo, let me ask you thus, as you so ignorantly brought up…

      What does the socialist down the street, the red neck, the Hindu, the black family, the American Native family, the newly minted American citizen from Colombia all have within common?

      Perhaps a very simplistic thing, Homo, though you obviously fail to see it….the ability of their children to succeed, through their children’s own hard work and determination, regardless of the ‘WHAT’ you describe them as, within some supposed ‘group’, rather than ‘WHO’ they are based upon their individual desire to succeed through said hard work and determination, which basically, Homo, destroys every aspect of whatever argument you believe you are presenting…

    • The parents you disparage know when their children advance in skills and knowledge, and when their children are neglected and yet applauded for goals they did not achieve. Those parents know when a child can read, write, and compute, independent of the efforts of the “professionals”. Those parents are also becoming aware of the baseless programs foisted on their children by “professionals” who have no problem adopting any trendy program or method to teach the basic skills, without success. And, pilot programs that are grounded on the basic skills remain limited to a few students and withheld from system wide adoption for reasons unknown. Those parents are now finding a voice and an interest in removing the union guards from their child’s school. Your fears are well-founded, but not for the reasons you state, parents are now preparing to demand, without excuses, that their children get educated!

  2. Homo,
    The writer has not advocated that parents write the curriculum or direct the subjects. She quoted Youngkin stating parents should be in charge of their own kids’ education. These words were in response to parents being stifled from complaining or expressing their displeasure in their child’s educational direction.
    When lines are crossed, and subjects and objectives become offensive to America’s basic tenets of morality, parents should be listened to, even if nothing changes. If parents are given the forum and nothing changes, then they can pull their kids (for now).
    When the National School Board Association complained to the President of the US (talk about skipping the chain of command!) that they didn’t like parents being angry and voicing their opinions at their meetings, those parents were promptly labeled domestic terrorists. A narrative formed that violence was commonplace at School Board meetings across the fruited plain (it was not).
    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think anyone is advocating that we hand over the Govt School System to the parents. But to deny the source of the kids (parents) any input and even proffering disdain to all but the cheerleaders is disingenuous at best and evil at worst.

  3. Commie China wants to limit Childrens exposure to pop music culture. Even they admit that it is making brainwashed boobs out of the kids. Here it is exactly what the vile left wants. If you even notice, many youth know more about some deadbeat high school dropout druggie that made it in the music industry and wants to convey to your children how to live….and love ala Lady Ga Ga for example., than they know about reading and math.
    This is because the swine on the left want compliant drone lemmings and the perfect propaganda needle is pop music and entertainment culture.

  4. School Choice, Alaska comes the closest. one of many reasons why we retired here and not elsewhere.

    Just the same there is significant fluff in the public school systems. KAUC ran a story on COVID money available for noncovid issues.

  5. Public schools need to stick to reading, writing & math, and leave the rest to the parents. Anyone who thinks that the parents should not have say in how their own children are educated is cray-cray. Anyone who thinks parental involvement is to complicated, and that we should just leave it all to the “experts” can do that with their own kids if they like, but as for the rest of us who have no issue with being engaged – we don’t need you to tell us what to do with our kids – that’s our responsibility, and our business. But I suppose that this is just another of the many rights liberals want to take away from free Americans – the right to be involved in our children’s education….

  6. Curious how some people absolutely bail out when intellectually undressed in certain topics.

    While we’ll never know, one can assume the leftist operative doesn’t have kids, never worked in or near “professional” education, volunteered, ect.

    Just spout talking points and run for cover when exposed

  7. Many are degree-less and use their Woke status to get jobs that say on paper that you must have a degree. It’s America after all and even with their pious virtue signal faux hugs for the homeless, the latest fad REI gear and riding a bike to work like in commie China, it’s still always only about the $.

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