Education officials are pushing the adoption of a racist, hateful curriculum, which only serves to indoctrinate our children, sow racial resentment, promote radical ideas that aim to redefine gender and teach non-age appropriate sex education lessons to young students, and pit students against one another. Parents across the United States have good reason to be outraged about the quality of education their children are receiving, and the notion that parents should be discouraged from pushing back is ludicrous.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it was launching an investigation to “address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel” by parents increasingly and rightfully worried about their kids’ education. We learned from Attorney General Merrick Garland’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that the basis for this investigation was a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), not actual crime data or evidence from any law enforcement agency.
The NSBA’s letter likened parents’ participation in school board meetings to domestic terrorism. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by Parents Defending Education, emails were obtainedrevealing that the NSBA coordinated with White House officials when developing the letter. The NSBA has since apologized for the language it used in the letter, but the fact that language was used after consultation with the White House provides frightening insights into the Biden Administration’s disregard for America’s parents wanting to improve the quality of their kids’ education.
Let me be clear, concerned parents absolutely have the right to hold their elected officials and school board members accountable and make their voices heard in a nonviolent manner. Parents know their children better than anyone, are their biggest and most persistent advocates, and have their best interests at heart. Certain politicians, at the local, state and federal levels, are peddling the idea that concerns over curriculum is just a rightwing conspiracy theory and that parents having a say in the curriculum their children are taught is a threat to our schools and quality of education. That notion is patently absurd.
In one particularly alarming instance, first grade students at a New York school were being taught sex education lessons without the knowledge of the children’s parents. When parents caught wind of what was being taught, school administrators wrongly assured them they had simply misinterpreted the lessons. This dismissal of parents is unacceptable and is an alarming sign of how some educators view their role versus the role of their students’ parents.
The real threats here are the erosion of the curriculum, the weaponization of the justice system and attempts to turn students against other students, not the parents who are courageously speaking out and pushing back on dangerous ideologies being taught in the classroom. One of the best ways to improve education in schools is for parents to be more actively involved, not less.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said, “We teach the good and we teach the bad of history. But what we don’t do is make 7- and 10-year-olds feel that they are somehow bad people because of the color of their skin. We’ve been through that and we don’t need to do that again.” I couldn’t agree more. When children go to school, they need to be learning essential skills and information that will help them become productive members of society and shape their successful futures.
Pitting students against one another based on their races and genders will not help them achieve any of these goals and will cause severe damage to the learning environments in classrooms across the country. I am proud to stand with our nation’s parents in the effort to improve classrooms everywhere.
Congressman Lee Zeldin represents New York’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.