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Terry McAuliffe: No role for parents in the school program

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a campaign event in Arlington, Va. On July 23, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters)

Im During the Virginia gubernatorial debate on Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe insisted that parents should have no role in directing their children’s education and doubled in a subsequent media interview.

McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor and longtime Democratic member, released the statement after being asked whether “protections for transgender students” should be determined at the state level or in individual school districts.

Responding first to the question, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin raised the issue of “school systems refusing to engage with parents,” proposing recent example of parents in Fairfax County, Va., who were unaware of the sexually explicit content of the books made available to children at the school library.

“You think school systems should tell kids what to do,” Youngkin told McAuliffe. “I believe parents should be in charge of their children’s education.

In response, McAuliffe said: “I am not going to let parents go into schools and actually take out books and make their own decisions,” adding: “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they want. should teach. “

When asked in a later interview if parents should join a school’s program, McAuliffe doubled down, “Look, we have an education board that works with local school boards to determine the curriculum for our schools. . You don’t want parents coming to every different school jurisdiction saying, “This is what should be taught here” and “This is what should be taught here.” “

Ah, yes, those prying parents.

It’s understandable, given the backlash against their policies in communities across the country, that progressives want to end worried parents showing up at school board meetings and protesting CRT, transgender radicalism, and inappropriate sexual material. . Worse yet, some of these parents show up for school boards – and win.

Of course, this is exactly as it should be. Parents know the most about their children, care about their children the most, and have the primary responsibility for raising their children. They should never simply trust – unchecked – educators, administrators and experts to make important decisions about what their children are taught and how their schools are run.

Indeed, it is the beauty of our decentralized education system that they don’t have to. Locally managed school systems provide parents with broad access to influence the way their children are taught, whether through the PTA or elected school boards.

But McAuliffe is obviously not enamored with the mechanisms of democratic accountability and grassroots contribution. Like all progressives, he has a very exaggerated view of the competence and authority of government bureaucrats. And he, of course, is siding with school boards and administrators in Virginia striving to bring critical race theory into the classroom, despite and against parental protest.

It’s not just CRT. Last month, the Loudoun County School Board in Virginia, ignoring heated complaints from parents and teachers, passed a permissive gender identity politics, which allows students to use the washrooms and locker rooms, as well as play sports, based on their gender rather than their biological sex.

These extreme policies are bad enough if they are passed with parental input or over parental objections. They would be even more egregious if the parents were completely excluded as intruders, as McAuliffe describes them.

Former Texas Senator Phil Gramm illustrated what parenthood in education should be by telling the story of an educator who insisted she cared about her children as much as he did. Gramm’s line was “Okay, what are their names?” “

Now Terry McAuliffe has a comeback for Gramm and all like-minded parents – shut up and stand in line.

Editors include the senior editorial staff of the National exam magazine and website.

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