The battle over whether parents or public schools and elites should decide what goes on in the minds and souls of students has entered a second stage.
The Washington Times reports that LGBTQ activist groups are complaining about parents who object to children as young as five learning about gender issues and reading books containing profanity and anti-police messages.
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who heads the dishonestly named American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, is quoted by the newspaper as saying, “A parent or group should not have the right to restrict by government action what another parent’s child may choose to read.” This will surprise many parents who have the right to believe that their child’s school lunch will be free of harmful substances, as well as the right to prevent their children from having a secular progressive political agenda that taints their minds.
Caldwell-Stone has it back. It was not the conservative and religious parents who fanned the ordeal of this hornet. It is the secular leftists who indoctrinate children and steal their innocence. I suspect that many parents want teachers to stick to traditional subjects. Parents can teach their children whatever they want at home. Public schools should focus on catching up with China in subjects such as science and math, as well as teaching all of American history.
Caldwell-Stone apparently missed the significance of last November’s election in Virginia, which saw Gov. Glenn Younkin win, largely over the issue of parental rights. Recently, Youngkin enacted a measure that requires schools across the state to notify parents if their children are assigned books or other materials with sexually explicit content.
In New Jersey, educators take the opposite approach. According to the New York Post, first-graders will learn in sex ed class ‘gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes’ from a film called ‘Pink, Blue and Purple’ . Let’s see how long it will be before parents in New Jersey follow those in Virginia and show up at school board meetings, demanding the right to protect their children from what the educational establishment and left-wing activists want to impose on them. .
How is it that parents are encouraged to exercise parental control over their child’s computer and movie choices (there are apps and icons for that), but when it comes to their schooling, we tell them to smash?
I doubt the ALA’s cries of “censorship” will have the impact they had in the 1980s when the organization made similar statements about intellectual freedom about sexually suggestive books that some wanted banned from libraries.
Few issues, if any, are more important to parents than the well-being of their children. This is why school choice is an option in a growing number of states. According to the edchoice.org website, “There are 76 educational choice programs…in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.” The one thing elected officials fear most is when voters start paying attention to what they are doing.
For parents who live in states that do not offer the option of school choice, they should, if possible, remove their children and put them in private schools or home school them.
If private or home schooling isn’t possible, parents can start showing up at school board meetings and claiming their rights to be their children’s primary educators and the ultimate determinants of what they learn. Showing up and protesting at school board meetings has worked in Virginia.
Cal Thomas can be reached at [email protected]