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.
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.