January 12, 2024

Sue Kingery Woltanski: M4L Supports Parental Rights Except When It Doesn’t

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One of the most basic tenets of Moms for Liberty is that parents should have the final say in all aspects of their children’s education, right? Well, not always. In hearings for a recent deregulation bill, M4L spoke up against letting parents overrule retaining a student based on nothing but the Big Standardized Test.

Why is Moms For Liberty, a so-called ‘parental rights group,” arguing against parental involvement in their child’s educatIon? It boggles the mind… but it gets worse…


Merchant and friends “strongly oppose” the addition of lines 1036-38:


Merchant testified ““It seems like we are removing accountability” and “removing standards” means schools will “continue to promote struggling students.” Their letter admitted “there is an argument that retention needs to be balanced with parental rights” but warned “an illiterate child allowed to advance will not only never recover but will have a significant negative impact on the 4th grade class.” Their recommendation: “This needs to be removed.”

SB7004 simply allows parents to determine whether promotion to grade 4 is in the best interest of their child. For a group whose mission involves “empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government,” Moms For Liberty’s opposition to allowing parental involvement in promotion/retention decisions is stunning. What happened to “Parents have the ‘fundamental right’ to direct children’s upbringing” and “We don’t co-parents with the Government” and why doesn’t that apply to promotion to fourth grade?

It is my opinion that Jeb Bush’s signature mandatory third grade retention policy is an idea that is has long outlived its usefulness. Grade retention is traumatic for children and research now shows there are more effective and less costly interventions to support struggling readers. Many states that followed Bush’s lead, have now repealed their 3rd grade retention policies. Parents should have always had the right to influence retention and promotion decisions for their children, regardless of their grade level. It is insane that Moms for Liberty don’t support that “fundamental right.”

By the way, Merchant and friends also want to expand third grade retention to any student failing to get a Level 3 score (currently the mandatory retention law only applies to Level 1 scorers.)

Meanwhile, Merchant is also arguing against requiring testing for students using vouchers. You can’t make this stuff up. Read the full post here. 


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