Parents' Say in Education
Parents should be engaged in their children's education. Society, as a whole, must share the burden of preparing its youngest members for the future. In a democracy, we exercise this obligation through the ballot box. After all, education resides in the public sphere, and as a community, we all get to decide what is good for our children. Nevertheless, there are different points of view. For this reason, it is important to focus on non-negotiable values. And with schools, equity and inclusivity are non-negotiable. For the simple reason that public schools serve public needs, schools must cater to all children. Education like medicine should also be guided by research. Education like medicine should not be based on religion or opinions, but on evidence. There is a reason why a body of experts gets to decide whether to recommend a vaccine or not. Expertise, unfortunately, is not ubiquitous, and if such decisions are left to opinions, a deadlock is very likely, especially when a society is bitterly divided. Such is the case with education when divisive issues are involved. Even the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, sees this division in their most recent survey of parents and school board members:
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The above questions can be addressed by facts, and yet, these seem to be regarded as matters of opinion or beliefs. It is no different from asking for an opinion on whether the earth is flat or spherical.
There is another question regarding gender identity, but the way the question is phrased, a federal angle is clearly added: "Do you want the federal government to require all public schools to provide students with “unfettered access” to the bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities aligned with their professed gender identity?"
A lot of work is required to weigh on issues that require evidence because these are not matters of feelings. For this reason, we need to rely on experts. We must elect people who know a lot about education. Sadly, we can be easily swayed by those who take advantage of our beliefs and opinions. This requires less work on the part of politicians. Fortunately, we have in the end the non-negotiable values of equity and inclusivity. These values are simple enough to embrace when we see each and every child as our own.