Virginia parents, GOP lawmakers vow national push for ‘parents’ rights’ in public schools
WASHINGTON —Republican lawmakers and Virginia parents trying to capitalize on their success in the November election gathered across from the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to voice opposition to mask mandates and lessons about racism.
The ranking Republican on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, told the small crowd of about a dozen participants that the GOP would continue to push for parental rights in the classroom across the U.S., as crucial midterm elections loom in 2022.
Virginia’s election for governor proved that parents want to have more say in what their children are taught in the classroom, Foxx said.
“We’re ready for a new era in education,” Foxx said. “Other people now know what I’ve known for a long time—parents are a force to be reckoned with.”
Participants in the rally, hosted by the conservative Independent Women’s Network, also said they oppose universal pre-K and child care provisions in President Joe Biden’s social safety net package that Congress is set to vote on later this week. They argued that the government is getting too involved in child care.
IWN, a non-profit, is a branch of the Independent Woman’s Forum, which has received funding from the Koch network and pushes conservative and libertarian policies.
The network’s platform offers monthly paid subscriptions at three levels that include chat rooms, workshops, “special events with high profile lawmakers” and more. “Fight for parents’ rights,” it urges.
The rally follows Virginia’s election for governor, where Republican Glenn Youngkin successfully seized on parental fears about critical race theory—an academic level of research that studies the way racism is embedded into the legal system and is not taught in K-12 schools—and promised to overhaul the state’s education system. Critical Race Theory has informed many elements of anti-racist activism and the push for greater educational equity.
Youngkin, who vowed to give more control to parents, also objected to books in public school libraries by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.
The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.
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