You know something is wrong when a public-sector union head starts talking about history education in K-12 public schools and threatens legal action against parents who want to know what is being taught in the schools their children attend. Cultural warriors and holocaust deniers, Ms. Weingarten says, are preventing teachers from teaching honest history, and some states, mostly Republican, are legislatively banning Critical Race Theory causing teachers to be bullied and intimidated by parent groups. Critical Race Theory is taught in law schools, Ms. Weingarten goes on to say, and is not being introduced in K-12 public education, but if it has been introduced, it is the honest truth and her teachers’ union will initiate lawsuits against anyone trying to stop it. Goodness.
The first honest truth, one might say, is that the American Federation of Teachers is rich with mandatory dues paid by its members; is an arm of the Democratic Party; funds elected officials who do the union’s bidding; mandates openings and closings unrelated to science and safety; supports the teaching of destructive propaganda; and declares war on many parents who send their children to public schools. If it were not for the pandemic, parents would not have known what was going on. Just a few minutes with their child at the computer screen and many were horrified to find out that they were sending the children they love with all their heart to experimental educational laboratories regarding history and sex. The curriculum in many public schools is so out of control that Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, recommends that parents pull their children out of public schools immediately.
Miss Constitution agrees with Senator Paul. She would also like to remind the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the two huge unions associated with public education, that it is the parents who are in charge of the education of their children. State governments can compel some years of education, but cannot compel children be educated in public schools. From Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925, the Supreme Court said:
“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”
The second honest truth, then, is that school choice is a right and duty of parents and lawful guardians. Responsible parents are going to want to know what is being taught to their children and they are going to want what is being taught to be trustworthy and age-appropriate. Responsible parents who go to school board meetings to ask questions should not have to go through extended Freedom of Information Act requests, nor should these same parents fear that they might be arrested for “trespassing” when a school board chairperson closes down a public meeting prematurely. These and other arrogant and over-the-top tactics are meant to say, “We are in charge; we will do as we please; your children are not yours.” The hubris in all of this is beyond breathtaking. Miss Constitution doubts that many parents know of this historic Supreme Court ruling that validates parental control in education. She doubts, also, whether many parents know that public education has not been deemed by the Supreme Court to be a fundamental federal Constitutional right. In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 1973, the Court ruled “Education is not among the rights afforded explicit protection under the Federal Constitution. Nor do we find any basis for saying it is implicitly so protected.” In other words, the public education of children is a matter for states and for the localities that comprise a state, not the federal government, and no state can force parents to send their children to public schools and subject them to one theory after another of unproven veracity, or sex education intended to sexualize a young child or any of the other “woke” agenda items that comprise what is being fed children each and every day in many public schools. Parents have every right to see public (or private education for that matter) as a trust but verify proposition.
The third honest truth is that American parents expect schools to reflect ageless and enduring values that help a child develop as a person and preserve our nation. Starting with the understanding that the social order for children begins in their families and extends to their schools and finally to their country, the transition from home to school should be essentially seamless for very young children and always positive. Enduring values are not destructive ideologies thrown around as “current” thinking or theories one finds in graduate school or law review articles that few take seriously. A theory is a conjecture, a supposition – it is not fact. K-12 schools are supposed to teach objective information. In social studies, schools are supposed to teach events that have taken place and important people (some heroes) around those events for the purpose of children understanding the social order in which they are to grow and thrive. It must be taught in the affirmative. In each careful stage of their education, the context of these events and personalities can invite deeper thinking. America has a unique governing system that requires knowledgeable and virtuous citizen participation to perpetuate. Understanding, from childhood to adulthood, how our Constitutional Republic has evolved from Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian principles and observing how these principles have been applied over time, helps children develop critical thinking skills so important to citizen-sovereigns. The purpose of this part of a child’s learning can never be to destroy a child’s respect and love of country.
Dr. Carol Swain and the other members of the 1776 Commission have created an appropriate K-12 civics curriculum. It is not, as the New York Times says in pushing its 1619 Project, to “Re-frame the country’s history [by placing] black Americans at the center of our national narrative.” We do not need to re-imagine or re-frame American history. It would be dishonest to do so. Black Americans are already central to our narrative as is every other precious group that makes up our nation. We do not need required reading in schools that minimize, objectify, or degrade individuals or peoples that make up the American family. Health and hygiene are one thing, encouraging a self-diagnosis of sex dysphoria in grade school, or books that suggest such a thing is quite another. What we do need: moral and model teachers, engaged and curious parents, and fearless and responsible educators whose mission is, in part, to pass on to the next generations of Americans a compendium of the enduring that structures our way of life. If the AFT and the NEA do not want to be part of this paradigm perhaps they should cease to be part of the picture at all. In any regard, as the Supreme Court tells us, a child is not a mere creature of the state (or of teachers’ unions). It is up to parents to direct the destiny of their children.