April 22, 2023

Amy Adams: Iowa parents deserve real rights

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Amy Adams is a former educator living in rural Iowa. In this post, she points out the trouble with Iowa’s parental rights legislation. She’s a mom, and she wants the best for her kids.

But looking closely at the legislation passed here in Iowa and the U.S. House of Representatives, these so-called parental rights bills are far from what most families want or need for their children and their schools.

Most would agree that regardless of our race, zip code, or income, we all want safe schools, where our kids and grandkids can get an honest education that sets them up for success. Parents work hard to make sure our kids have opportunities. But parents are frustrated. And, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, parents also became fearful. Schools closed, businesses closed, supply chains stalled and we had more questions than answers about what to do next to keep our kids healthy and safe.

Those who had been undermining public education for years seized on parents’ fears and began using those fears and frustrations to distract and divide them. Suddenly, everything became divisive. Whether it was mask wearing or vaccines, an onslaught of misinformation and disinformation flooded social media feeds.

Who’s behind this?

The same people who fund organizations like Moms for Liberty help finance the elections of MAGA republicans for government offices. These groups are weaponizing parents and moms in particular to promote their extreme agenda, which hurts America’s children and public schools. Moms are a key voting block to winning elections. We saw this here in Iowa with the “Mama Bears,” a duo who supported groups like Michael Flynn’s Moms For America and helped elevate MAGA messaging. They used parents to push fear and a radical agenda.

And it isn’t just Moms For America. Groups like Parents Defending Education, Americans for Prosperity, Turning Point USA, Advancing American Freedom, and The Heritage Foundation are funding candidates for school board, governor, and Congress. Their deep pockets promote hateful legislation to benefit corporations and the wealthy and hurt families.

It’s no secret that private education is a for-profit business, and there’s a lot of money to be made if public schools fail. Under the guise of parents’ choice, voucher schemes help those who already have the means to pay for private schooling, leaving behind those in the middle and at the bottom. Here in Iowa, the funneling of tax payer dollars to private schools will disproportionately benefit metro private schools, reducing funding and opportunities for our kids and families in rural schools.

Instead of pushing for policies that would benefit families, lawmakers are using these “parents’ rights” bills to divide parents, while attacking kids, teachers, books, and public schools. Instead of banning books and hiding American history from our kids, parents’ rights should help parents. None of these Republican so-called parents’ rights bills do that.

What rights should parents have? Adams points to things like paid leave, living wages, and health care. Read the full post here.

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