by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you assumed that teachers unions, Democratic officials and education technocrats began the new school year humbled by the parental backlash against their harmful pandemic-era tactics (closing schools and embracing ideologically motivated efforts to rewrite school curricula among them), you would be mistaken.
This week, Randi Weingarten, the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, tweeted, “Great piece on parents’ rights and #publicschools.” The piece, which ran in The Washington Post, argued against the idea that parents have rights, as its headline made clear: “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”
In other words, Weingarten and her union members (who are among the Democratic Party’s top donors and have repeatedly succeeded in getting the Biden administration to kowtow to their unscientific demands for draconian public-health guidelines in schools), are now embracing the claim that parents should have no rights when it comes to what their children are taught in taxpayer-funded schools.
The op-ed, written by Jack Schneider, an education professor, and Jennifer Berkshire, a writer, is a wildly disingenuous effort to portray parents’ legitimate concerns as extremist. It is a perfect distillation of the current misguided reasoning on the left regarding education.
It begins by casting parents worried about their children’s educational experience as being in a “frenzy.” It claims that it is the parents who are radical in their demands for more information about what’s being taught, rather than the schools that refuse to respond to them. …
… The authors’ most egregious claim, however, is that the “sudden push for parental rights, then, isn’t a response to substantive changes in education or the law. It’s a political tactic.” They liken today’s parents to Richard Hofstadter’s description of conservatives and their “paranoid style,” with their “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy.”