Michigan Senate approves resolution asserting parents’ rights in children’s education

All Democrats voted against the resolution, which asserts “the fundamental rights of parents to direct their children’s education.”
Michigan State Capitol

The Michigan Senate divided along partisan lines when the Republican majority adopted Senate Resolution 0107, which asserts “the fundamental rights of parents to direct their children’s education.”

All Democrats voted no on the resolution.

“Parents are in the best position to know their own child’s needs and circumstances, and therefore, should maintain authority over all decisions that could impact the health and well-being of their children….” the resolution reads in part. “Whereas, Public schools are directed to listen to and respect the wishes of parents in the development of academic standards and curricula” it continues.

Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, is the resolution’s chief sponsor.

Ben DeGrow, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, agrees with the resolution’s sentiment.

“Parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to direct their children’s education, and students benefit greatly when schools treat parents as trusted partners,” DeGrow told The Center Square.

“Many Michigan moms and dads, frustrated by their experiences with pandemic schooling, are now alert and ready to take a stand for their children," DeGrow continued. "Rather than resist this development, lawmakers should welcome and encourage it as a key to helping more students learn and succeed.”

The resolution was prompted by a Michigan Democratic Party social media post in January. The post, since deleted, read: “Not sure where this ‘parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids’ is originating, but parents do have the option to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire.”

The post continued: “The purpose of public education in public schools is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know. The client of the public school is not the parent, but the entire community, the public.”

The post has been compared to a similar statement made by then Virginia governor and failed gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe last fall. In a debate with opponent and eventual winner of the election Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe stated: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

The comment is blamed in part for costing the Democratic McAuliffe the election.

“Michigan Democrats have solidified their stance of being anti-parent regarding education,” Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action, said. “Parents have a central role to play in the education of their children, and Michigan Republicans are the only party in our state that recognizes that.”