Commentary

Parents Hold All the Power in Reclaiming America’s Schools

Casey Ryan | April 12, 2022 | 12:19pm EDT
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A teacher lectures the class. (Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)
A teacher lectures the class. (Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With schools teaching children critical race theory and regressive gender ideologies, parents are increasingly looking into opportunities to fight back against this indoctrination now occurring in America’s education system. Parents are understandably upset that educators are teaching their children absurd ideas that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. Fortunately, these parents have more options than ever to fight back against this radicalization plaguing America’s schools. 

Parents are the most powerful force we have in securing the future of our nation’s children, and we have seen time and time again in recent months how they can channel that power to fight and change America’s course for the better. We have especially seen this in states like Virginia, Florida, and Texas. Parents of different backgrounds and political persuasions have joined together in an effort to eliminate the relatively new dangerous ideas that political activists and ideologues are implementing and pushing into America’s schools. 

Possibly the most powerful tool parents have is their vote. Approximately 40 percent of American households have children under 18, according to Statista. And that powerful voting bloc transformed Virginia from what was considered a reliably blue commonwealth to a state with a Republican governor. Glenn Youngkin campaigned on parental rights in education and won. Virginia politics underwent a seismic shift as soon as Democratic candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe claimed, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” That one comment likely invigorated tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of parents to turn out and vote. 

However, Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election only scratches the surface. Pro-education candidates and policies have also claimed victories in school board races in numerous states over the past few months. In what is possibly the most shocking case, San Francisco voters recalled three school board candidates in February with more than 70 percent of the ballots cast. This recall occurred after the city’s school board voted to rename 44 schools that were named after famous American figures, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Even in states like California, parents are enormously powerful when they choose to voice their concerns in elections, but voting isn’t the only tool parents have to fight back. 

Parents throughout the country can call and contact legislators already in office. Politicians fear negative publicity that threatens their political careers and will listen when constituents come together to push for change. If enough parents speak up, elected officials will feel the need to change course and fight for the issues their constituents care about. 

Take Florida, for example. Gov. Ron DeSantis listened to parents in his state and just recently signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law that prohibits educators from teaching sexual and gender identity issues to children up through the third grade. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott used his administrative power to protect children by rightfully labeling gender transitioning procedures and treatments for minors as “abusive.” When parents speak, lawmakers and elected officials often listen. Even Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke recently came out in opposition to teaching critical race theory in schools. 

If elected leaders still fail to listen in some scenarios, parents can ask to see all instructional materials and student surveys being used in their children’s school districts. A federal law called the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) requires that the district grant the request.  

When protecting our nation’s children from political activists and school faculty with ill-intentioned agendas, parents hold all the power – whether they know it or not. The parent movement has seen more progress in the past six months than in the past decade, and that progress is a direct result of parents stepping up. They have the power and tools at their disposal to protect their children from the insane ideologies now taught in America’s schools.  

Casey Ryan is a staff writer at Parents Defending Education and a former assistant editor for the Media Research Center's Free Speech America.

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