Randi Weingarten’s ‘Honest’ Truth

Many bewildered parents send perfectly lovely children off to college only to have them return home for the holidays sullen, angry, and disrespectful Marxists. What we now know is Marxist education at college has seeped into grade, middle, and high school -- and it starts with the unions.

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 their children’s schools are teaching. 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.

Here are some actual honest truths: The first is that the American Federation of Teachers is rich with its members mandatory dues; 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 teaching destructive propaganda; and declares war on many parents who send their children to public schools. The pandemic finally allowed parents to see what was going on.

Just a few minutes sitting with their child watching the computer screen horrified many who saw that they were sending the children they adore 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, introduced a bill making it easier for parents to pull their children out of public schools immediately.

From the resulting outcry, it’s clear the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the two huge unions associated with public education, fail to understand that parents, not teachers, are in charge of their children’s education. State governments can compel some years of education but cannot compel children to attend public schools. In 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 the right and duty of parents and lawful guardians. Responsible parents want to know what their children are learning and they want that knowledge 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 ends a public meeting prematurely.

These and other arrogant, 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.

Many parents may be unaware that the Supreme Court’s Pierce ruling validates parental control in education. They may also be unaware that the Supreme Court has not deemed public education 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, children’s public education is a matter for states and for the localities that comprise a state, not for the federal government. Moreover, no state can force parents to send their children to public schools and there subject them to one theory after another of unproven veracity, or a sex education intended to sexualize a young child or any of the other “woke” agenda items that many public schools are feeding children every day. 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. If we understand 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 found in 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 and then civics, schools should teach events that actually occurred and introduce children to important people (some heroes) connected to those events so children understand the social order in which they are to grow and thrive. It must be taught in the affirmative.

In each careful stage of children’s 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 the 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 readings in schools that minimize, objectify, or degrade individuals or peoples that make up the American family.

Likewise, while health and hygiene are one thing, encouraging a self-diagnosis of sex dysphoria in grade school, or assigning 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,” structuring 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.

M. E. Boyd’s Apples of Gold – Voices From the Past that Speak to Us Now is available at Amazon.com using both the title and subtitle. You may also visit her at www.missconstitution.com.

IMAGE: Randy Weinstein Weingarten and her wife, edited in Pixlr. YouTube screen grab.

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