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WaPo ‘experts’ explain why parents have no right to tell schools what to teach our kids

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In what proves to be a timely opportunity, The Washington Post gave educational policy experts Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider a platform to essentially explain why parents don’t have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum.

In a piece published last week, less than two weeks before Virginia votes for its next governor, Berkshire and Schneider serve as a convenient buffer for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who’s taking heat for a remark uttered during a debate last month with Republican Glenn Youngkin. McAuliffe, who previously served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

While McAuliffe has tried to walk his comment back and redefine what he meant, it continues to hang over a very tight race, and the Wa-Po op-ed is surely seen as a welcome reprieve.

Interestingly, while the piece does not mention McAuliffe, Youngkin’s name comes up for making parents’ rights “a centerpiece of his campaign for governor, staging ‘parents matter’ rallies and declaring, ‘I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.'”

This being offered as part of a trend in some states to protect parents’ rights, a point made prior to the pair of experts making their case for why this is not the case.

“Given this frenzy, one might reasonably conclude that radicals are out to curtail the established rights that Americans have over the educational sphere. Yet what’s actually radical here is the assertion of parental powers that have never previously existed,” they wrote. “This is not to say that parents should have no influence over how their children are taught. But common law and case law in the United States have long supported the idea that education should prepare young people to think for themselves, even if that runs counter to the wishes of parents.”

Berkshire and Schneider then serve up a telling quote from legal scholar Jeff Shulman: “This effort may well divide child from parent, not because socialist educators want to indoctrinate children, but because learning to think for oneself is what children do.”

Oh, the irony of an intolerant cabal that allows for no dissension whatsoever from the day’s prescribed political narrative standing on a hill for the right for children to think for themselves.

In effect, the experts are making the case that school authorities should supersede the authority of the parent — here’s more:

When do the interests of parents and children diverge? Generally, it occurs when a parent’s desire to inculcate a particular worldview denies the child exposure to other ideas and values that an independent young person might wish to embrace or at least entertain. To turn over all decisions to parents, then, would risk inhibiting the ability of young people to think independently. As the political scientist Rob Reich has argued, “Minimal autonomy requires, especially for its civic importance, that a child be able to examine his or her own political values and beliefs, and those of others, with a critical eye.” If we value that end, “the structure of schooling cannot simply replicate in every particularity the values and beliefs of a child’s home.”

The law has long reflected this. Consider home schooling. Although it is legal across the country, states still regulate its practice. Such regulations often aren’t enforced, but they are certainly on the books.

 

And while it may be speculation that McAulliffe was a beneficiary of the piece, the authors left little doubt that critical race theory was being defended.

“For years, the Republican Party has understood that the demographic tide is against it. Knowing that every vote matters, the GOP has increasingly relied on a strategy of voter suppression,” the pair wrote. “Simultaneously, Republicans have worked to ensure that their base turns out in force by stoking White racial grievance. The recent firestorm over critical race theory is a perfect case in point.”

Before warning conservatives they “may wake from their conspiratorial fantasies to find a pile of rubble and a heap of ashes,” in reference to schools, Berkshire and Schneider penned: “Courts have found that parents have great authority when it comes to deciding how to raise and educate their children. This right, however, does not mean that public schools must cater to parents’ individual ideas about education. Parents can opt out of the public system if they wish, and pay to send their children to private or religious schools.”

But folks are paying real close attention these days — finally — to how the left is using education to shape the hearts and minds of its charges. This being the first step in reversing a trend that’s been in place for decades.

The story drew a myriad of critical responses about how the left no longer bothers to hide its agenda… here’s a quick sampling of but a few from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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