Angry Parents Aren't Terrorists—They're Just Terrors to Public School Boards
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Angry Parents Aren’t Terrorists—They’re Just Terrors to Public School Boards

Photo credit: Ryan Snaadt

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Dear school boards: When you poke mama and papa bear, don’t be surprised when they growl and bare their teeth. And writing a letter to the president asking him to sic the FBI on parents rather than treating them as partners in education seems more political than needful.

To understand the gulf between parents and educators, just watch a school board meeting on youtube (if you still can). You’ll see concerned parents voicing their concerns at microphones. They look like defendants standing before judges in a tribunal. What happened to PTAs?

In school board meetings across the nation, parents are treated as opponents rather than partners. They’re frustrated and angry with imperious school boards who seem to insist that they know what’s best for their children.

At times their anger causes them to raise their voices in passionate speeches. They love their children and seek to protect them from what they view as indoctrination, not education. Parental love drives their passion and triggers their protective instincts. This doesn’t make them domestic terrorists.

If school board members and teachers feel threatened by genuine threats in public meetings or on social media, they should be investigated—by local authorities, not by the federal government.

Yet last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to direct the Justice Department to investigate angry parents for hate crimes and domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism.

Why are parents so angry? Three issues come to mind: mask mandates, sex education that includes transgenderism, and Critical Race Theory.

Mask mandates

Masks can and do help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. But they’re not necessarily a good option for children simply because, by and large, the virus is not deadly to kids.

In fact, 98-99 percent of children who get COVID fully recover. With this in mind, by doing a simple risk assessment of masking schoolchildren versus not masking them, we’d conclude that it’s better to let them learn without masks.

Additionally, we simply don’t know the longterm adverse effects forced masking has on learning. Most kids are visual learners and take cues from facial expressions. Their socialization may also suffer as a result.

Clearly, because educators are more at risk of death from COVID-19, they should continue masking. Thoughtful parents know their children who do not have preexisting conditions are generally safe to attend school without masks.

Why do school boards and teachers unions continue to push unnecessary and likely harmful mask mandates on children? For whom are they most concerned with protecting? If they believe in masking, they should mask up and suck it up. If they’re still afraid, perhaps they’re not cut out to be educators.

Sex re-education

Teaching children about the birds and the bees is a parent’s job, not a teacher’s. Sex ed is a family issue, not the state’s. Can’t it wait until just before puberty, rather than being taught to kids K-5?

Many traditional parents share this opinion. So is the self-evident truth that binary genders exist in human biology—and in reality. Parents who embrace this truth and passionately speak up about it are now at risk of being accused of hate speech.

We are born male or female. No amount of surgery or hormone treatment changes this reality. Parents know this and also know that confusing kids with fantasy genders and damaging gender reassignment harms them.

Public school educators have more than enough on their plates with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. They should leave sex education to parents and resist pressure to push gender nonsense on impressionable children.

Parents are also concerned with the prospect of hormonally-altered boys competing against their girls in sports. This obviously gives males unfair physically advantages and presents a danger to the health of welfare of overmatched females.

The Journal of Medical Ethics affirmed this reality in a recent study in which the researchers concluded that “the advantage to transwomen afforded by the IOC guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

Bad theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT), as defined in a video by the Heritage Foundation, is a philosophy founded on Marxist analysis that claims America is “systemically racist.”

CRT proponents, active in colleges and universities for years, now seek to impact public policy in public schools. As a result, CRT is beginning to gain a foothold in K-12. This makes parents angry.

Most parents and some educators and school board members reject CRT’s racial discrimination for equity in favor of equality and opportunity for all— regardless of skin color.

The vast majority of thoughtful and caring parents believe that CRT teaches children to feel guilty for their “whiteness” while accepting the lie that America’s systems are inherently racist.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act dealt a mortal blow to systemic racism in America. Critical Race Theory ignores this landmark legislation and the fact that racism resides in people, not systems.

Obviously, there a differing definitions of systemic racism held by those on both sides of the issue. Just as there are differing definitions of “hate speech.” Perhaps it would be helpful to rely on definitions that are based in logic and common sense rather than emotion and agenda.

In the minds of many parents, Critical Race Theory is nothing more than partisan propaganda. CRT is harmful because it produces unmerited guilt, divides us and denies the attainability of the American Dream for people of color.

This is not borne out by our nation’s history. Rather, it’s debunked by generations of immigrants and people of color who came to America legally and made better and more prosperous lives for themselves and their families.

Terrorists or terrors?

To justify their appeal to the president for federal law enforcement support, the National School Boards Association is misapplying words and phrases to vilify angry and frustrated parents. Why? They’re either seeking to clear obstacles to their agenda and/or they mistake parental passion for peril to themselves.

Have some angry parents (or those who side with them) gone too far with social media attacks and threats? Probably. Does any of this have to do with genuine hate speech or domestic terrorism? Unlikely.

What’s more likely is that words like hate and terror are being misused to trigger more government interference in the lives of parents and their children.

Branding angry parents domestic terrorists is absurd hyperbole at best and political weaponization at worst. Parents who are merely resisting ideological intrusion into their public schools—and their children’s lives—deserve better.

What we need is an overhaul of a failing public school system and vouchers for charter schools and alternative educational systems like home schooling.

Why should we continue funding increasingly political public schools? Why should we believe school boards who claim parents are engaging in hate speech, threats of violence, and terrorism when most seek merely to protect their children by exercising their freedom of speech with passion and conviction?

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Patrick is a journalist and writer with degrees in English and journalism. He served six years in the Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures and blogging at https://luscri.com/



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Education

Texas School District Says Enough is Enough

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Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

BREAKING: The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in North Texas voted last night to:

1) Ban the teaching of critical race theory. 

2) Wait until students are in the fifth grade to teach them sexual orientation and gender identity. 

3) Ban boys from playing in girls’ sports.

4) Encourage the use of pronouns that align with student’s biological gender and require them to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological gender.

5) Require that library materials be posted online and readily available for review by parents.

6) Not teach The New York Times “1619 Project”.

7) Implement a strict process for reviewing library books, so as to allow To Kill A Mockingbird and disallow Daddy, Papa, and Me and others.

It seems nearly incomprehensible that a school district would have to vote on measures like these. In fact, to many thoughtful Americans, it seems utterly Orwellian. How can truths about gender and the proper use of pronouns suddenly seem controversial rather than commonsensical?

Why does it seem radical to return power to parents and reaffirm biological reality? Or to keep boys from dominating girls in sports? Or to let students read revisionist history and propaganda about their nation on their own time? Why teach something that cannot withstand even the lightest objective criticism? 

Perhaps the school district’s 4-3 vote is a sign that there’s hope, that the pendulum has reached its arc and is beginning to move back toward truth and reality. Maybe the radicals are on the run.

No matter what, kudos to North Texas educators for pushing back against the absurdity and reaffirming responsible education.

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Education

Make Universities Accountable for Predatory Student Loan Abuse

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The Biden administration is still talking about delivering on the President’s promise to relieve student loan debt for many Americans. There is continuing discussion on how much debt should be forgiven, how to pay for it, and whether it is fair to all those who have diligently and painfully worked to already pay off their own student loans. After all, if you’re going to eliminate student debt to buy votes, why just limit it to student debt?

Unfortunately for Biden, according to numerous sources including National Review, the executive branch has no generalized power to forgive any amount of student debt. Even Nancy Pelosi confirmed simply that “the president can’t do it. That’s not even a discussion.” The Department of Education came to the same verdict, determining that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

Of course, even if he had the authority, forgiving student debt doesn’t make the debt go away. Reality has a way of breaking into such “freeloading” dreams. It’s pay me now, or somebody else pay me later. But why should some future taxpayer pay off anyone else’s student debt?

Whatever happened to wise warnings of “student beware.” When you get an education and agree to pay the tuition, you ought to realize that you must at some point pay for that education. You signed on the bottom line. Face your real-world responsibilities. Hopefully, you picked a degree major that will ensure a career capable of paying off your loans. Students clearly have some responsibility, but what about the universities that took advantage of the money coming from those loans?

After all, there is ample evidence that student tuitions exploded far faster than inflation when government funds became readily available for student loans. Complaints of excessive tuition increases by students trapped in their programs tended to be met with a less than caring response—pound sand!

Since 2008, the tuition cost or a four-year college degree has increased nearly 25%. In that same period, student debt has doubled, increasing by 107%. 2015 study found that a dollar of subsidized student loans results in a published tuition increase of 58 cents at a typical university, An NBER paper suggests that changes to federal student loans are more than sufficient to explain tuition increases at private nonprofit colleges. And a 2014 study found that for-profit colleges eligible for federal student aid charged tuition 78% higher than that of similar but aid-ineligible institutions.

In short, there is no doubt that tuition was rising faster than the inflation level. Evidence has been clear for decades. In 1987, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett argued that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities to raise their tuition, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”

Bennett pointed out in 1987 that federal student aid had risen 57 percent since 1980, while inflation had been 26 percent. A 2020 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office brought the numbers up to date: “Between 1995 and 2017, the balance of outstanding federal student loan debt increased more than sevenfold, from $187 billion to $1.4 trillion (in 2017 dollars).” What is the lesson? The more federal aid to students is available colleges raise tuition more. Salaries rise and bureaucracies expand. There are more courses, more dorms, dining halls, lavish recreational centers, and more money for endowments.

Far too many students find that once they begin their education, their schools raise the tuition at such a high rate that their debt explodes. The university builds their endowment, and the “trapped” student is compelled to finish what they started at a cost they did not expect to have to pay. In such a situation, should not the university be responsible for any increased cost above the increase in cost of living during the same time? It’s time for universities to take responsibility for their share of student debt.

The universities that benefited from these loans should have a part in footing the bill. That means universities that raked in millions to inflate endowments should be holding the bag for those who can’t afford to pay their loans. With universities holding hundreds of billions of dollars in tax-free endowments, any government program to relieve student debt should be completely dependent on taxing those university endowments.

It’s time to counter the Democrats’ vote-buying scheme by making lasting changes to the student loan process. That means putting universities on the hook for their predatory behavior. That will go much further than a temporary payoff that does nothing to solve what is causing the problem.

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