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Ahead of this past week’s elections, you might have heard a lot of talk, and perhaps some shouting, about “parents’ rights.” More specifically, parents are demanding school boards and politicians listen to their concerns about public education.
How could anyone be against that? I’m a parent, so having rights sounds great. I’ve seen how school boards can sometimes ignore community concerns over big, far-reaching decisions. Getting a broad spectrum of public input to inform policy decisions is a good thing.
But it turns out “parents’ rights” in this case are not for every parent. It’s anything but broad. It’s only for conservative parents who don’t like how schools are following basic public health advice during a pandemic, or how they teach students about race, science or sexuality. They demand curriculum reflecting their views, values and politics. They don’t like not getting their way.
I’m a parent who wants schools to require masking to help protect all students, at least until more kids get vaccinated. I want my kids to learn American history that’s not whitewashed by phony patriots, science not skewed by politics or religion and sex education that reflects reality. I don’t want libraries sanitized of books, ideas and images simply because they make some people uncomfortable.
But in the current context of “parents’ rights,” I have the right to remain silent. Shut up and stay out of the way, lib. It’s more like the “rights” exercised by parents screaming at refs, coaches, players and other parents at youth sporting events.
But it’s a winning political message. So, obviously, this movement could change education. And surely that will be reflected on standardized tests. I’ve obtained a (fake) draft of a test that reflects this new dawn of “parental rights.”
1. The universal use of masking in indoor spaces to control the spread of an infectious disease has been found to be far more effective by researchers than strictly voluntary, piecemeal use of masks. But, hey, what’s really going on here?
A. Masks suffocate us before we can be infected.
B. Masks are the mark of the beast, which is immune from the disease.
C. The virus is a media hoax.
D. Your first mistake was thinking I’m one of the sheep!
2. Climate change caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, is already fueling more frequent extreme weather events, including floods, hurricanes, droughts and wildfires. It threatens to spawn even more serious consequences unless more significant actions are taken to control the emission of greenhouse gases to halt the rise in global temperatures in the coming decades. But come on! Do you really buy this socialist mumbo jumbo?
A. Hell no.
B. They’re coming for our meat and ethanol. Do your research.
3. The evolution of vaccine development has been one of the world’s great achievements, relieving suffering from many deadly diseases while saving millions of lives. Still, it seems like something fishy is going on with this COVID thing, right?
A. He who creates the illness sells the cure. Think about it.
B. Magnets, microchips, synthetic parasites. Who knows?
C. Smallpox is really no worse than the flu. Do your research.
4. Science has come to better understand the complexity and fluidity of human sexuality, changing the way sex education is taught in schools while making it more inclusive of the experiences of LGBTQ youth. But, more importantly, how does this affect you?
A. It makes me really uncomfortable. It should be banned.
B. Confused. We’ve got two genders and the missionary position, once a year on your birthday. That’s all we need.
C. Weak, because liberals are confiscating my testosterone.
D. Outraged by the march toward greater human knowledge and understanding.
Read the following passage from the”1619 Project.”
The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” did not apply to fully one-fifth of the country. Yet despite being violently denied the freedom and justice promised to all, black Americans believed fervently in the American creed. Through centuries of black resistance and protest, we have helped the country live up to its founding ideals. And not only for ourselves — black rights struggles paved the way for every other rights struggle, including women’s and gay rights, immigrant and disability rights.
4. Jeez, what kind of Marxist-hate-America hooey is this?
A. Sorry, it’s illegal in my state to read this.
B. It talks about protest but ignores Antifa. Do your research.
C. It’s just more “blame slave owners “cancel culture.
D. Let’s go Brandon!
5. The “1619 Project” puts Black Americans at the center of the nation’s story, seeking to explain how slavery, Jim Crow laws, brutal discrimination and the deep institutional racism they spawned plague the country to this day. But more importantly, how does that make you feel?
A. I feel there is no institutional racism, that’s why our institutions can’t talk about it.
B. Not at all fragile, but I never, ever want to hear about this again.
C. Like burning some books.
D. Frightened. No truly great nation can survive confronting truths about its history.
6. School boards across the country have faced a backlash from conservative parents who take issue with COVID-19 mitigation measures as well as curriculum. At times, school board members have faced threats from angry parents shouting “We know where you live!” This is…?
A. Free speech.
B. Constructive dialogue.
C. The truth, because we totally know where they live.
D. Just a friendly reminder we’d sure hate to see anything happen to them.
8. How would you describe the parents’ rights movement?
A. My way.
B. Or the highway.
D. The bliss of ignorance.
E. All of the above.
Answer key: There are no incorrect answers! You have the “right” to be wrong.
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