“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
—Democratic Candidate (and former Governor) Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, September 28, 2021
You’ve got to think that by the night of that debate, Mr. and Mrs. McAuliffe were already thinking about what furniture they would take back to the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond where McAuliffe served from 2014-2018.
After all, Virginia went for Biden over Trump by 10 points, and every Democratic candidate starts with an advantage in the Old Dominion due to the massive bloc of blue votes from the precincts in the Washington suburbs. Republicans had not won statewide in Virginia since 2009.
Inquiring minds wonder…did Terry McAuliffe know that as soon as he uttered those words about parents that he was done?
He didn’t. Why else would he have doubled down on his words until polls showed him heading for his eventual Election Day Waterloo?
The idea that “experts know best” has been so pervasive for so long in certain quarters that senses have been dulled to what real people know to be true. That “tone-deafness” was what shifted ticket-splitting Virginia parents to Republican Glenn Youngkin according to media reports, including (even!) CNN.
McAuliffe can’t say he wasn’t warned.
Bill Clinton’s strategist James Carville said he was tired of his party relentlessly trying to sell ideas that sound good only in the “faculty lounge.” Carville’s keen sense of political smell detected early what became McAuliffe’s undoing: a condescending, dismissive, even sneeringly elitist attitude toward average citizens, particularly on the issue of education.
The key demographic factor was suburban voters. Even DC-suburban Democrat Loudon County saw a shift. Biden won by 25 points. McAuliffe by only 11%. Voters who told exit pollsters they believed parents should have “a lot” of say in what is being taught in their child’s school went for Youngkin 77%-22%.
The 2020-2021 shift means one thing: Youngkin was put over the top by people who voted for Obama-Biden and Biden-Harris…all while being an unapologetic supporter of school choice, the ultimate “parent’s rights” policy!
The attitude of education elitists toward parents is not only a Virginia phenomenon.
Just two years ago, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives told an African-American female parent who was advocating for more education options for her children that parents did not have the ability to choose what was best for their children.
And over 35 South Carolina lawmakers recently called for South Carolina’s School Boards Association to join many other states who have clearly denounced the National School Board Association and its dismissal of concerned parents as domestic terrorists and “extremist hate organizations.”
BREAKING NEWS: The South Carolina School Boards Association announced just this week that it is immediately withdrawing its membership in the NSBA and requesting a refund of membership dues citing the “damage done” by the NSBA’s September 29 letter.
This struggle has manifested itself in the form of curriculum in South Carolina as well.
Understanding that parents wanted to know more about what was being taught on the subject of comprehensive sexuality education, in 2016 Senator Larry Grooms successfully inserted a proviso in the state budget that would require each public school district in South Carolina to post on its website the curriculum (“title and publisher”) it had chosen for health (sexuality) education.
The proviso did not judge the rightness or wrongness of a particular publisher’s material, it simply called for transparency. Grooms’ budget measure now looks positively prophetic!
Before the Virginia Governor’s campaign was in full swing, elected officials in a number of states had begun to lead a new curriculum transparency movement. Just like the Grooms’ South Carolina proviso, the movement called for a way for parents to easily access the curriculum that is being used to teach their children in their public school.
The right of a parent to make an appointment, go to their child’s school, and review materials had been around for decades, but these new efforts use the internet to create real transparency. The Wisconsin legislature passed a bill this year that would require school districts to post learning materials for all subjects and to reach out to parents twice a year to make them aware of the resource.
MORE BREAKING NEWS. State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced November 9 that public school curricula will be available for public review at sites around the state from November 9 – December 9.
A piece of the curriculum issue in Virginia was the concern among parents that political indoctrination had crept into public schools. They felt that in the wake of COVID, with so much learning loss, there wasn’t time for hard-left politics. It was a time for the three r’s.
If that is true for Virginia, it should be even more important in South Carolina where over half of South Carolina 3rd-8th graders are behind grade level on Math and English. South Carolina schools should be focused on the skills they need to be successful in life, not on political agendas.
Which brings us to our questions for you:
- Do you have evidence of political indoctrination going on in South Carolina classrooms?
- Do you believe that “sunshine is the best disinfectant” and that we need curriculum transparency across all subjects?
Virginia proved that parents—and everyday citizens—rise to the challenge when their voices are dismissed and their children’s future is on the line.
Let your voice be heard in South Carolina…and share this resource with other concerned citizens today!