Right-Wingers No Longer Being Shy About Wanting To Defund Public Schools Entirely
Life comes at you fast.
Last week, we wrote about an UnKoch My Campus investigation that tied the recent uptick in "outraged parents" flipping out about masks, critical race theory and books to various conservative organizations devoted to privatizing public schools. As it turns out, some people and organizations are being blatant about their desire get rid of public schools, and they want your taxes to fund their kids' religious educations at schools that will demand they at least pretend to be cisgender heterosexuals until they graduate.
At The Federalist, contributor Joy Pullman tells a frightening tale of teachers and counselors — in Idaho of all places! — being supportive of a transgender student, against the wishes of that student's mother and grandmother.
“School administrators in Coeur d’Alene manipulated an 11-year-old girl into believing she was a boy and should undergo gender transition surgery,” [report author Anna] Miller writes in a study overview in The American Mind. “The elementary school counselor had coached the young girl into believing she was transsexual and instructed her how to tell her parents about her new identity. According to a recorded phone call between the counselor and parent, the principal and other school officials had known about this and began calling the girl by a boy’s name while purposefully choosing not to inform the child’s parents.”
This description of events is very different from even the original "article" describing the events, which apparently transpired in 2020. That article, as wacky as it is -- it's published by an SPLC-designated hate group called MassResistance -- explains that the child initially told their mother and grandmother he was trans, and the grandmother called the school counselor hoping they would talk him out of it. But instead, they were supportive, helped him come up with ways to discuss it with his family, and told him that whoever he is, that's okay.
Via Mass Resistance (CN: misgendering):
A few months earlier, Janice had talked to the elementary school counselor about her concerns that her granddaughter had said she’d been “looking at things online” and seemed to be going through a phase of thinking she would like to be a boy. But Janice was hoping for help from the counselor, not further harm!
Janice took her granddaughter aside to ask her about her “decision.” The girl said her elementary school teacher and school counselor both completely support her decision. She insisted that it’s “who she is.” She said they both told her, "I will accept you for who you are."
She added, "My counselor gave me tips on how to tell you. She said we can practice on how to tell your parents. Maybe you can bring them in here and we can both tell them. If they say this, I can say that. Hopefully the parents will think it's good.“
The girl gave an example: “My mother’s religious. If she says ‘it's a sin,’ then I can say, ‘Well, you sin every day.’ "
The girl was also given the phone numbers of local LGBT support groups. "Just in case I need it," she told Janice.
Oh, the horror. What kind of person would want to send their child to an incredibly supportive and responsible school where counselors treat them like human beings with the ability to discern for themselves who they are, instead of consulting their grandmother on who she would like them to be? It's almost unbelievable that anyone could read this and not see "Janice" as the obvious villain of the story. They don't even bother to try to make the school counselors look bad.
Citing a report published by The Claremont Institute, a far-right, pro-coup thinktank, Pullman goes on to detail the other horrors parents in Idaho are dealing with. For instance, in these schools, children are learning that gay people exist, and are often being directed to LoveIsRespect.org, a helpful website meant to answer their questions about sex and sexuality. This is a good alternative to kids simply being told to be virgins until they marry someone of the opposite sex.
They're also teaching anti-racism, and not telling them that kneeling football players are "disrespecting America." It's almost as if they are being taught by actual education professionals, and not a rightwing thinktank.
The only way to fix this, Pullman and the study's authors conclude, is to defund public schools entirely.
The report authors therefore recommend lawmakers distribute education funds directly to parents, instead of corrupted education institutions that have shown themselves impervious to a century of reform efforts. This would also relieve U.S. public education’s systemic discrimination against religious families that currently bans children from instruction fully integrated with their faith as a condition of receiving public dollars.
“School choice would allow people to select education options compatible with their religious beliefs and backgrounds, rather than requiring them to fight for control over the public education system,” the report says.
It also recommends rejecting federal grants, letting charter schools construct their own teacher certification pathways, making all instruction materials public, barring schools from using public dollars to pay for racist instruction, and replacing the state’s Common Core curriculum mandates.
Well that certainly is blatant. To be clear, they are explicitly saying they want it to be OK to use public dollars to pay for religious instruction, but not to teach children that racism exists and is bad.
For the record, religious families absolutely can send their kids to religious schools or homeschool them, they just don't get to use other people's money to do it. This is fair, both because of "separation of church and state," and because, quite frankly, there is no benefit to taxpayers to subsidizing religious education for these people. I don't have children, but I do pay taxes that go to fund education, because I benefit from people being educated, as does everyone else. As a society, we also benefit from children not growing up to be awful bigots, not least of all because it's gonna be real hard for them to keep a job if they insist on being that way.
We pay taxes for things for which there is a societal benefit, and teaching children the earth is 6,000 years old or that it's okay to discriminate does not benefit anyone. If parents want to do that, they are welcome to tell their children that themselves. If they want their kids to have extra religious instruction, they can send them to CCD or Sunday school or Hebrew school or any other private religious education class, or pay out of pocket for a private religious school. If they want their kids to be bigots, they can, I don't know, start their own chapter of Hitler Youth. There are myriad options that exist for them to do these things without asking the rest of us to fund it.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse