Michigan Democratic Party deletes social post claiming parents aren’t ‘client of the public school’
Facebook post ignited a hailstorm of criticism as the debate over parental rights continues to rage across America.
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A weekend Facebook post by the Michigan Democratic Party ignited a hailstorm of criticism, prompting the party to eventually delete the comment Monday.
“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 choose to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire,” the deleted post read.
It continued: “The purpose of a public education in a public school 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 comments echoed a sentiment expressed by failed gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during a campaign debate last October. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” then Gov. McAuliffe said during a debate with now Gov. Glenn Youngkin. McAuliffe’s statement is widely attributed to derailing his campaign.
Commenting on the Democrats' social media post, American Federation of Children Director of Research Corey D’Angelis said on Twitter: “They didn’t learn anything from Virginia. (The) Michigan legislature passed two bills to fund students instead of systems in 2021. But Governor Whitmer sided with the teachers union monopoly.”
D’Angelis encourages parents to support a petition to override Whitmer’s vetoes, saying Michigan Student Opportunity Accounts would enable families to access open schools, tutoring, and other tools to address learning loss and meet students’ individual learning needs.
Beth DeShone, Great Lakes Education Project executive director, said the Facebook post requires a public repudiation and denunciation from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Democratic legislators.
“The Michigan Democratic Party might not get it, but no one knows what a child needs most like his or her parents,” DeShone said in a statement. “The Party’s classist attack on low-income and other parents is absolutely astonishing – and very telling. Public school is about kids, not Democrats’ political policy agenda. Parents are demanding Gretchen Whitmer and other key elected Democrats reject this educational extremism and hold their party accountable.”
DeShone also noted lower-income families did not possess the financial means to send their children to private schools.
Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs also took issue with the Facebook post.
“The radical Leftists at Whitmer’s Democrat Party think they know better than parents,” Sachs said in a statement. “Claiming that parents who can’t afford private schools shouldn’t get a say in their children’s public school education is not only crazy – it’s against the law. Yet Governor Whitmer has sided with teachers unions against parents and students again and again.”
Sachs continued: “Whitmer vetoed reading scholarships and opportunity accounts for parents to use on things like transportation, tutoring, and tuition at a school of their choice. Today, thousands of Michigan students remain locked out of their classrooms without the option to attend open schools or receive additional tutoring because of Whitmer's vetoes. Government must be accountable to the people, and public schools must answer to parents – not the Whitmer Democrats, teachers unions and school bureaucrats.”
Sachs cited Michigan law, which states in Section 380.10: “It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil's parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil's intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.”
Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Twp., is House Education Committee chairwoman. She responded with her own Facebook post.
“Michigan Democrats have continually sided with the education establishment and unions to fight against school choice and parent empowerment,” Hornberger wrote. “Their decisions harm our students. If the education establishment and unions continue to fund Democrats, the Democrats will continue to vote against the best interest of Michigan’s students and families.”
In a subsequent post, the Michigan Democratic Party noted they had removed the group’s initial statement.
“We have deleted a post that ignored the important role parents play – and should play – in Michigan public schools. Parents need to have a say in their children’s education, end of story,” the post reads.
The retraction continues, “The post does not reflect the views of Michigan Democrats and should not be misinterpreted as a statement of support from our elected officials or candidates.”