Stella Morabito writes at the Federalist about an idea most of us would consider absurd. But perhaps it’s less absurd now than it was a couple of decades ago.

Parents are now more aware than ever that their right to raise their own children is in danger. Recent election results in Virginia and elsewhere testify to that awakening. A lot of the news focused on the public school curriculum of critical race theory, which pits children against one another based on their race. Parents never signed on to that.

But they’re also waking up to a host of other disturbing trends in public education. An extremist sex education curriculum includes pornography and pushes transgenderism. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) instruction tells kids exactly how they should feel and relate to others while using invasive data-mining to collect psycho-social information on them.

COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates are another point of contention. All of these directives hijack the role of parents as the emotional and moral guides of their children.

Parents ought to be asking: What next? If those trends are left unchecked, I think the answer could be the state licensing of parents.

Social engineers would certainly like to see legislation that allows the state to assess parents for “fitness,” dictating whether people can raise their own children. But you won’t see statist politicians or left-wing school boards speaking openly about such licensing. The timing isn’t right, especially after recent elections.

The idea is still consigned to journal articles and some academic chatter. But let’s not forget that critical race theory and transgenderism were once laughed off as fringy academic notions before they burst into newsrooms, then into classrooms and public libraries.

Ethics professor Hugh LaFollette laid out the idea in a 1980 academic article titled “Licensing Parents.” The gist is that all biological parents ought to go through the same kind of process required of adoptive parents, such as interviews, psychological testing, home visits.