Part 1: Are Parents the Primary Stakeholders in their Children's Education?
The answer will surprise you.
Read the title again. It’s one of those questions I like to call a “word salad”. You need to read it a few times before you’re confident you understand it--sort of like the letter we read from the FDA “authorizing” Pfizer’s vaccine for Covid-19. Word Salads are usually written by lawyers to tie your brain in knots and distract you from the gut feeling that you may not be able to trust the intent behind what you’re reading.
I bring this question to your attention because it’s the legal debate that parents, school boards and legislators are grappling with right now—not just in Washington state but everywhere else in the country.
What’s a stakeholder and why does the Washington legislature love that word when writing the law that creates our public school system? According to the Interwebs, a stakeholder is usually used to describe anyone who has a vested interest in the success of a business. This should give you a clue about where I’m going with this article.
In Washington, our school system is created and defined in RCW 28A. You will find language throughout 28A that defines our legislature as the “primary stakeholder” in the success of the school system as a whole; and they define that system to include everything they can regulate and license--public schools, public daycare and preschools, home school programs and universities. Now before you gloss over that, let me spell this all out for you again--it’s imperative you understand this if you have kids in the system. The Washington legislature claims to be the primary stakeholder in the success of the system as a whole.
Think this through, Parents. Our lawmakers, as a body, define themselves as the entities who have the primary vested interest in the success of the state school system.
Do you agree?
I’d vehemently argue that the citizens of Washington are the primary stakeholders in the public school system, but our legislators would probably pat me on the head and say “There, there. Calm down, Eryn. That’s what we meant. We represent the citizens of Washington, so we are the primary stakeholders.”
Is this anything to get our feathers ruffled over, or just another trip to the word salad bar?
Let’s assume we’re accepting of the concept that the legislature can be the primary investor in the system as a whole. Then who is the primary stakeholder in YOUR child’s education?
Most parents would quickly say that they are, without question. Parents are the primary authority in their child’s upbringing and have the primary vested interest in their children being educated and successful. This seems painfully obvious.
But apparently this is up for debate.
On September 30, 2021, during testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, this debate was squarely played out on the national stage. Resident Joe Biden’s Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, was asked by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) if parents should be considered the “primary” stakeholders in education decisions. In other words, do parents have the final say in what their children are taught in school? Cardona dodged the question by saying that parents were “important stakeholders” but that educators have a role to play in programming decisions. Basically, he would not agree that parents had the final say, which by default means that someone else does.
I’m trying to imagine a world in which I would give up my right to have the final say over what is taught to my offspring. Even if my son were a Jedi youngling apprenticing under Yoda, himself, I still think I’d listen in on the classes to make sure I was on board with what was being poured into my little Padawan’s brain.
Is there ANY human living whom you would trust, without question or hesitation, to indoctrinate your child with their interpretation of the world?
I cannot think of one person I trust that much. Yet we hand our children over to educators every day without question. Why? Because we assume that there is safety in consensus. We take for granted that so many smart people, perhaps much smarter than us, have weighed in on the curriculum that we are absolved of the responsibility to get involved. This may have been a decent rule of thumb until recently, when it was brought to our attention that parents have specifically been prohibited from having the final say on what’s being taught.
According to Miguel Cardona, we are allowed to have an opinion, but that opinion weighs less than anyone else’s at the table. And what happens if we vehemently disagree with the curriculum? What if we’re not on board with increasing math to 90 minutes a day and cutting History out entirely? What if parents believe American Civics are still crucial to our children’s education?
Just one day before Cardona testified in the Senate HELP Committee hearing, the National School Board sent a letter to Resident Biden expressing concerns that outspoken parents at school board meetings were becoming a nuisance. The NSB suggested that Biden classify these parents as domestic terrorists. The legal ramifications of this classification are so terrifying that I’ll have to save that rabbit hole for another article. Suffice it to say, over 20 states pulled out of the NSB after that letter and Washington state is not one of them.
Last Fall Tonasket School District in Okanogon County passed a resolution acknowledging that parents are the primary stakeholder in their child’s education. The resolution stated that parental involvement was key to a child’s academic success, and it affirmed that meaningful, two-way communication with parents would be encouraged. This sounds like a simple, painfully obvious and almost easy bit of paperwork to push through. Washington Parents Alliance (WAPA) members have been proposing it to board members all across the state since January of this year.
However, it’s not as simple or as easy as it may seem, and the process has revealed to us that school boards are NOT anxious to acknowledge parents have rights over their own progeny.
Brad Klippert, Legislator for the 8th district in Washington, attempted to propose the same resolution in Olympia this past Legislative Session. He met a few roadblocks, to put it mildly. A GOP House attorney shot it down. He said the resolution contradicted too much of what was already written into Washington law.
Let that sink in.
Brad tried to stand up for parents rights. He was told that he shouldn’t even try. According to our state’s current law, someone or something else believes they have the final say over what is poured into our babies’ brains.
This isn’t about “who” is coming after our kids. It’s about who came after our kids a long time ago, wrote it into law, and then made it possible for the schools to mask our kids without our permission, encourage teachers to shame our children for not being vaccinated, or teach them about anal sex, role playing and birth control before their hormones even kick in.
Last week, while speaking at a town hall meeting in Enumclaw, a parent stood up to share about a student who had come to her with a story about a lunch club that had been formed by the administration for only students of color. The purpose of the club, as relayed by the student of color who had attended, was to “diss on white kids”. She was so uncomfortable with the message of the club that she reported it to her parents.
Right now parents are hog-tied from taking action against clubs that promote Critical Race Theory. We have no peaceful and lawful path to resolution. We’re allowed to have an opinion about clubs like these but we dare not hope that our opinion will count for anything because we are NOT the primary stakeholder in our child’s education.
If this is all news to you, I hope you’re asking the million-dollar question. Why does our government want to push parents out of the education system? Why did we lose our seat at the table?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s plainly laid out in George Bush Senior’s famous quote in 1991 about his vision for the future:
“We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order, a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.'s founders.” George Bush, Sr.
Good educators carry out the Rule of Law, while parents are apparently representing the “law of the jungle”.
The Globalist’s vision of education is an indoctrination camp that spits out compliant young adults, devoid of critical thinking skills, with gray matter chock full of nothing but “science” and New Math, anxious to go to work for the next big tech giant.
That’s not the vision WAPA parents hold for their children. In fact, the jungle doesn’t sound too bad compared to George Bush’s vision of an army of mandate-abiding automatons.
This weekend WAPA parents across the state are attending a class taught by the Center For Self Governance (www.centerforselfgovernance.com). We’ll be specifically learning how other students of CSG got the “Parents are Primary Stakeholders…” resolution passed at the state level in North Dakota, and at the school board level in many districts across the country. When the juicy bits of that class firmly gel in my noggin, I’ll be sure to report back in Part 2 of this article. We are excited and grateful to have access to tools that will shepherd us out of this mess.
Until then, may all of you blessed parents be the esteemed rulers of your own jungle.
Thanks so much for writing this! I look forward to taking the class. We absolutely need a bill that protects parental rights in education, as we are losing more and more ground to progressive educational experiments on our children. Did you know the WSBOH is voting on April 13th if they will require the Covid-19 injections for children to attend school and day care? Their public comment period ends on April 8th.