November 20, 2021

Andrea Gabor: Fight the School Culture Wars by Embracing Parents Read more at:

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Andrea Gabor writes for Bloomberg and has covered education extensively. Here she offers an idea for schools in the current culture war,

When Republican Glenn Youngkin won the gubernatorial election last week in Virginia, the first statewide GOP victory there in more than a decade, it was widely seen as vindication of a political strategy to weaponize the school-board culture wars.

In truth, the school-board warriors around the U.S. weren’t as successful as some high-profile Democratic defeats suggest. Even in red states like MissMissouri and Wisconsin, many candidates who advocated bans on mask mandates and the supposed teaching of what culture warriors tendentiously call “critical race theory” were defeated.

But there’s no denying that Virginia parents were angry at Democrats. That was partly because a former Democratic governor had rebuffed their demands to reopen schools during the pandemic, even as children from neighboring Maryland, and even New York City, returned to classrooms with little ill effect.

Most galling of all, though, was the incendiary and misguided statement by the eventual losing Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, that parents shouldn’t be “telling schools what they should teach.”

To suggest that parents have no place in school decision-making is to deny the fundamental role of public schools as places for the teaching and practice of democratic values. Schools should want more parental involvement, not less, a matter of equal concern on both sides of the cultural divide. For example, in New Orleans, the nation’s first all-charter-school city, where charter organizations backed by Democrats and Republicans sought to marginalize parent and community engagement in schools, the backlash has been fierce.

Read the full piece here.


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