Let kids be kids

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Last week, the North Carolina Senate passed House Bill 755, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” Among its provisions:

  • A pathway for parents to request materials related to in-class instruction.
  • Parents will be notified of the health services offered at their child’s school.
  • Parents will be notified of changes in the name or pronoun used by their child at school.
  • Parents will be notified of any changes in services or monitoring of their child’s mental, emotional, or physical health.
  • The bill would prevent kindergartners and children through the third grade from receiving instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity as a part of the school curriculum.

As a practical matter, there’s little reason to even debate this bill because if it clears its final legislative hurdles Gov. Roy Cooper will then veto it.

But there is plenty of reason to have a discussion about the rights of parents.

And one of the most fundamental rights parents have is the right to shape their children’s character and world view. Particularly when teaching our youngest children, the most important responsibility of schools and teachers — aside from keeping them safe from physical harm — is to avoid undermining parents’ values.

Certainly, most teachers respect parents’ rights, so is this bill a solution in search of a problem?

No. Just last month a preschool teacher in Fuquay-Varina resigned after it was discovered she was showing young pupils LGBTQ-themed flashcards, one of which depicted a pregnant man (which, of course, is as common as a unicorn).

WRAL News reported that the cards are called “Progress Pride Flag Rainbow Families.”

According to the seller, “These gorgeous custom-designed illustrations celebrate LGBT2SQ+ Families of diverse races, ages, sexualities, genders, and abilities. … A stunning gift for the progressive families in your life!”

The cards were ostensibly used to teach colors to 3- and 4-year-olds. Of course, they were also used to teach those children a world view that may not be shared by many of those children’s parents.

It is not unreasonable for parents to insist that schools teach their young children colors and numbers and shapes while refraining from teaching them about sexuality.

The hard reality is that schools are becoming ideological battlefields. This is true for two reasons. First, our nation is deeply divided. Secondly, there is no such thing as a values-neutral education. Someone’s values are always being communicated, even if in subtle ways.

Unfortunately, over time there is every reason to believe public schools will only become more political – more liberal.

That’s because the universities that produce teachers are dominated by liberal deans and professors. Moderates and conservatives who make it through those institutions will have become conditioned to keep their beliefs to themselves long before they find themselves in front of a classroom.

New liberal teachers, on the other hand, will have spent at least four years being celebrated for speaking out.

Even if it were to become law, H.B. 755 still wouldn’t keep politics out of the classroom. But at least it’s an attempt to prevent elementary education from becoming sexualized; an attempt to let kids be kids.

Contact Bart Adams at badams@mydailyrecord.com.

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