WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) stood firmly for parental rights and school choice when he called for the Senate to immediately pass his resolution to support parents having the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their kids and remain in control of whether or not they want their children exposed to “woke” ideologies at school, including Critical Race Theory and others. Democrats blocked the Senate from unanimously standing up for American parents.
Lankford introduced the resolution to recognize the need to stand up for parents’ choices in their children’s education during National School Choice Week earlier this year. Lankford was joined by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Lankford continues to stand for parents’ rights and school choice for Oklahomans and students around the nation. Lankford introduced a resolution supporting parents’ rights after the Biden Administration politicized and weaponized the Justice Department by threatening to use federal law enforcement resources to intimidate and silence parents who speak out to protect their children from harmful curricula like critical race theory being pushed by Biden and the far left. Lankford joined his colleagues to send a letter demanding answers from US Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on reports that he played a key role in orchestrating a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) that called concerned parents “domestic terrorists.”
I come today to the floor with a simple unanimous consent request. This is a resolution. It doesn’t allocate any dollars, doesn’t change any policy. It’s just a statement of belief from the United States Senate. It’s a statement to be able to say, ‘We hold certain things very important.’
I’ll talk through some of the resolution part of it. The ‘resolved’ at the beginning of it, but it ends with a very simple statement. It ends with, ‘Resolved that the Senate recognizes and promotes the importance of parental involvement in their child’s education and recognizes the necessity of school choice as a tool to empower all parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their children and reject destructive ideologies promoted by many public schools such as Critical Race Theory.’
This comes from a very basic conversation that happens in my state. Quite frankly, it’s happening in states all around the country.
Parents should be the primary decision maker for their children. Not only on where they are educated, so that they don’t live in a certain neighborhood, and they say, ‘I’m sorry. You live there and have to go here.’ So that parents have the maximum amount of flexibility of knowing one child may be a great fit for one school, and a younger child may be a better fit for a different school, whether that be a public school that allows flexibility within a district to be able to move place to place or it happens in my state where you can even change district to district within public schools. If a parent maybe works in one area, in one school district but lives in another, that parent can choose to be able to have their child go into a different district, though it’s a public school setting. But it gives them the flexibility and the choice to be able to do that. Why? Because not every kid is the same and not every educational environment is the same. And I would say in my state, and I would assume in other states as well, not every school district is the same.
Now, it’s important to us in our state that every school district is successful. There is no place that we don’t want any child to be able to be successful. But we should all admit the facts: not every school district is thriving.
And as we invest dollars and time and encourage great teaching in that district, that child that’s in that district that is not being successful is trapped in a location that’s currently not successful. Maybe they can be successful in five years from now when they work through the different issues they have, but that child doesn’t have a second shot, if that child has no other opportunity to be able to choose and their parents are locked into that spot. We basically say, ‘We’ll fix everything at this district in a few years,’ and that child is just not allowed to get an option out.
I don’t think that’s helpful for that child and that parent at that time.
Giving parents the ability to be able to make the choice between public schools, charter schools, private schools, whatever may work best for their school and for their state and the policies their state has created, seems like a smart thing to be able to do.
Any kind of teaching that is within a school that actually promotes one kid as the oppressor and the other kid as the oppressed simply because of the color of their skin should not be taught in our schools.
Why don’t we teach every child as equal? Why don’t we teach every child should have opportunity? Why don’t we teach every family has the opportunity in this great country of ours? And where we have weaknesses, we work on our weaknesses, but we don’t label a child as an oppressor or as oppressed based on the color of their skin. At least we used to not in America. But that’s what’s rising up on with this Critical Race Theory as it rises up from place to place.
I’ve had many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle say, ‘That’s not true. That’s not actually being taught.’ Great. Let’s make the resolution, and let’s say, ‘We as a Senate don’t believe this should be taught.’
Let’s teach every child. Let’s love every child. And this resolution also affirms the rights of parent to be able to speak out—not in a violent way, not in a destructive way—but the parents to be able to speak out.
Why is it several months ago that our Department of Justice and our nation starts a whole investigation on parents to be able to say: are there parents that are actually maybe closet terrorists that are showing up at school board meetings complaining about what’s being taught, complaining about a mask mandate in their school, complaining about a vaccine mandate, complaining about Critical Race Theory, or just saying I don’t like this particular curriculum? That used to be the rights of parents to engage, and now we hear, ‘Really parents don’t know enough about these difficult things. Parents need to just sit down over there. We’ll take care of this as professionals.’
So again this resolution doesn’t add additional funding, doesn’t change the structure of our schools, but does say, ‘We as the Senate believe in the power of the parent to be able to make the right choice for their children.’