Two years into the pandemic, one thing has become abundantly clear: Far too many public education leaders and union bosses view the system as an entity they control, where parents’ and students’ needs come second to their own. As a result, no longer are we advancing the singular purpose of education: To give every child the skills and knowledge to unlock their potential. Governors and state policymakers should enact a student and parents “bill of rights” that secures their right to access, quality and transparency. Right now, teachers’ union leaders across the country are pursuing a national school shutdown. Despite science — and private schools — demonstrating time and again that in-person schooling can continue during a pandemic, these school leaders are refusing to listen to the demands of parents, and they are putting the education of students at risk.
But it doesn’t end there. Just this week the Michigan Democratic Party posted (then deleted) a statement refuting the right of parents to have a say over their child’s education. Saying in part, “The client of the public school is not the parent but the entire community, the public.” This same anti-parent sentiment reflects a similar message eschewed by Terry McAuliffe in his failed bid for governor of Virginia. The message that parents don’t have primacy over their children and their education has been prevalent for years. It’s often led by academics, out-of-touch school board members and teachers union leaders who claim parents aren’t smart enough to choose a school for their child. But lately it’s been a message aimed at parents with children enrolled in their public school who are fed up with being ignored.