By Dr. Lisa Dunne
If you’ve been able to swim past all the nonsense news of late, you probably noticed an eye-opening bill that recently passed through the House. Many parents hearing about the Bill for the first time had no idea what secrets were being kept from them, what powers were co-laboring to ensure that a government agenda would supersede the parent’s own desire for his or her children.
HR 5 Parents Bill of Rights Act intends to recognize the rights of the parent in knowing what was happening in the school. It would require schools to publicly post the curriculum, a description of the curriculum, and how parents can review the curriculum.
In summary, the bill is intended to empower parents, but it serendipitously exposes the public to the current predicament: teachers and administrators want to keep parents from making decisions that might contradict the goals of the state.
This is not new. There are hundreds of documents on file from lawyers whose main concern about homeschooling is that it teaches students values that contradict the values of the state. Yes, parents, there is a contrast, a very clear contrast, between the goals of the secular education system and the goals of Christian families.
You can learn more about the bill at Congress.gov.
But hold on a second. Did you catch that sneaky clause, that the state would recognize the rights of a parent? Friends, what does that tell you is happening now? Parents' rights are NOT recognized. In fact, according to several court documents, parents’ rights actually "end" at the school’s front door.
You might want to take a deep breath before you read this ruling from the 9th Circuit:
"There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students."
- Fields v. Palmdale School District PSD, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2005)
Friends, let's revisit Plato's question: Who is teaching the children, and what are they being taught? Whose values will reign, the parent or the state?
If you listened to some of the quotes from left on the Bill, they were angry and panicking about the bill, the summarizing idea was that if parents are “allowed” to know what’s being taught or if children are “forced out,” meaning to tell their parents that they have assumed a completely different identity at school.
The bill gives parents:
The right to inspect books and reading materials
The right to know about Violet activity on campus
The right to know if an employee asked to change a child's gender markers, pronouns, or preferred names
Have the right to know if a child attempts to change gender affiliation regarding locker rooms or restrooms
And the part that really offended government school personnel: Section 202: Parents shall have the right to inspect all instructional materials, teachers’ guides, films, handouts, reading material and professional development material.
Teachers were up in arms over this one. They said, “You don’t trust us!”
Yep. That’s right. Anyone who is trying to keep secrets from a child’s parents is automatically labeled untrustworthy. It’s that simple.
And finally: Section 401 says a school must have the parent’s consent before changing gender markers or preferred pronouns. And yes, that is definitely happening right now. If you didn’t already know, there is a subversive movement going on in our government schools that is designed to undermine you, mom and dad. Maybe you’ve seen the “educational” cartoons showing mom, dad and grandparents who are “still locked in” to the ‘traditional values.”
The agenda is clear here, friends.
This is the essence of the content exposed by the Parental Rights Bill. Parents aren’t allowed to know. Schools want to keep it that way. But that should wake up every parent listening to this show. That means the status quo, right now, is that the state is keeping secrets about your children from you. The intention is to keep parents out of the system, out of the loop.
This idea is absolute pagan nonsense. It’s the opposite of Luke 1:17, which tells us that the hearts of parents and children should be drawn together.
The public school system is intent on severing the tie that binds. Why? Because family is a powerful force. Because marriage is God’s institution. Because a three-fold cord is not easily broken.
The government school system wants ultimate control. It’s Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, it’s Hitler’s Germany.
Parents, do children belong to you or to the state? When we look at the predictive power of any forthcoming generation, he who holds the gold always makes the rules. Hitler intentionally designed programs like Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls to train up a generation, indoctrinating them in the Nazi regime. Just read the history of how Hitler banned the Boy Scouts and forced scouts to join Hitler Youth so he could control what they learned.
In early 1930, the Nazi state abolished all youth groups in Germany, closing off all the competition for worldview development. By 1937, they had 5.4 million youth members (65% of the 10-18 population) and by 1940, 7.2 million—a full 82% of the 10-18 population belonged to Hitler Youth. One of the most chilling historical citations was the stated goal of these Nazi organizations: to “dismantle existing social structures and traditions and to impose conformity.” Sound familiar? That stat should cause us to shudder. Why? Because over 90% of students in America still attend secular public schools. Are you hearing what I’m saying? The power is in the hand of the educator, the educational institution. Let’s go back to Plato’s question for every civilization throughout all time and space, for this is truly the determining factor in America’s future: Who is teaching the children, and what are they being taught?
Christian parents must be mindful of the fact that schools, especially in overtly liberal states like California, are literally inculcating the values that will drive the future of our nation. The beginning of wisdom, its very starting point, Proverbs tells us, is the fear of the Lord. Children learn mockery of the laws of the Lord in California’s public schools; they learn oppression of its truths, but they will not learn the fear of the Lord in centers that are linked with an aggressive, secular agenda.
I know there is a push in some circles to try to mend public education, but I believe it is too far gone. I believe it’s time for a new breed of education, one that is tried and true, proven in its efficacy and return on investment for generations. Christian parents are called to rise up and carry the mantle. Our time and energy would be better spent not mending schools, but ending them.
Where did this ludicrous idea begin? At the source point of all ludicrous ideas in America: The university system, the seedbed of anti-faith doctrine and anti-family doctrine. Where did this aggressively anti-family indoctrination originate? That’s right…the government universities have been peddling these wares for decades!
The family-centric model of education, embraced for thousands of years before the current era of media-centralization, remains the primary system of educational health. According to Dr. John Wherry of the Parent Institute, children with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, demonstrate positive behaviors, and adapt well to school. “The research evidence is now beyond dispute. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life…In fact, the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that student’s family is involved in the child’s education” (Wherry, 2006). In the more than 30 years of research on parent involvement, researchers have consistently found that parent involvement produces positive results for children (Decker et al., 1996), and the Manitoba Department of Education and Training (1994) notes that, "Parents are more significant than either teachers or peers in influencing educational aspirations for the majority of children," including improved academic performance, improved school behavior, greater academic motivation, and lower dropout rates. When we look behind the scenes at schools were new programs are hailed for increasing student performance, we almost always see a common factor—though not one commonly pointed out: Parents have been invited into the mix. In other words, it’s not the social system that is improving grades: it is the inclusion of family in the process. In 1994, the importance of parent involvement was designated as one of the National Education Goals in the “Goals 2000: Educate America Act.” The U.S. Department of Education (1997) noted that "research over the past 30 years has consistently shown that greater family involvement in children's learning is a critical link to achieving a high-quality education." The Harvard Family Research Project’s (2004) extensive longitudinal study followed a cohort of students from the eighth grade through high school, college, and into the workforce. The study found that parents’ expectations and, essentially, their belief in the students’ academic capabilities, were predictors of the students’ success: “The further in school parents believed their adolescents would go, the clearer the adolescents' perception of such expectations, the higher their own academic expectations, the higher their academic achievement” (Patrikakou, 2004).
But, instead of including this secret sauce, government schools are bent on dissection the student from the family, decentralizing the family unit.
Everything you heard exposed in the Parental Rights bill is already happening on college campuses across the US. Let’s unpack the origin story of this movement, because friends, it always trickles down from the top. What we permit and then teach at the university level trains up a generation of leaders who set the pace for secondary and elementary education. It’s one giant feedback loop. This nonsense really started with the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). The U.S. Department of Education defines FERPA as a federal law “designed to protect the privacy of student education records.” In effect since 1974, the law applies to all schools receiving funds through the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA requires that the control of a child’s education records be transferred to the student and the teachers. See the common ground there? Parents, you’re out. These include grades and academic standing, attendance records, financial standing with the college, results of any disciplinary proceedings involving the student, hospitalization, treatment for any emergency or life-threatening medical or psychological conditions, missed classes, and disruptive or erratic behavior. Only through a written release from the student can a parent gain access to a student’s file—even if that parent is funding the student’s education. Neither the instructor nor the administrator has the “right” under FERPA’s regulations to speak to a parent about the student’s records. In a number of recent cases, this has been problematic, even life-threatening. Listen to just how crazy this is. Thomas Baker, associate dean of students at the University of Iowa, notes the increasingly dramatic number of college students engaged in self-destructive behaviors and the challenges FERPA regulations have presented in some of these cases. In his discussion of a rash of tragic suicides on college campuses—and the administrative decisions not to notify parents of prior suicide attempts—Baker argues that violating a student’s privacy rights may be a necessary step in protecting the student’s well-being. In a 2002 court case, a college dean had learned of a student’s suicide intentions. The dean then met with the student and required him to sign a “statement pledging not to hurt himself.” The student committed suicide two days after signing the pledge (Baker, 2005). Obviously, most parents would recognize the futility of asking a suicidal patient to sign a note promising he wouldn’t hurt himself. This is a naïve oath at best. Yet, schools are increasingly permitted to take the parental mantle upon themselves. To this end, Baker says he desires to see parental notification as part of the overall strategy in suicide prevention and mental health. “Protection from harm includes the ability to influence the student’s behavior, and…parental notice influences the behavior of a troubled student” by reinforcing positive feelings that exist between the student and his or her family members.” At present, though, FERPA regulations continue to “protect” a troubled student from the prying eyes and ears of his parents. In addition to medical records, grades, and attendance, FERPA also protects the records of a student’s financial accounts, so while a student may have developed a habit of making frivolous expenditures, thus tightening the noose of long-term indebtedness, her parents are unlikely to know. According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), more and more students are experiencing financial challenges because of overextended credit, and university administrators have begun to link these massive debts to more dropouts, defaults, and self-destructive behavior. One administrator put it succinctly: “We lose more students to credit card debt than to academic failure."(CFA). Alas, once again, student records are protected from those prying parental eyes, and thus, a parent might not know until it is too late.
Before the brain fully forms at 25, children and young adults need guidance. And truly, we all need guidance and mentors to speak into our situations throughout the lifespan! But youth are often particularly ill-prepared emotionally, socially, physically, and mentally for the challenges ahead. Some children have great difficulty dealing with the interpersonal issues bound to arise in student settings: peers they dislike, instructors they fear, courses they don’t understand, the complex challenges of relationships, stress, and overactive hormones.
At at the very least, FERPA laws should default in favor of accountability, not isolation. A mentor is not a mother, and a faculty member is not a father. Forcing pseudo-parental status is an outrageous abomination of true parental authority.
In essence, FERPA was the spawn of an educational “freedom” movement in the 1970s, the era that brought us Values Clarification as well as a number of other authoritarian-eschewing ideologies. Creating an automatic escape route directing students away from accountability, especially at a time when they remain vulnerable to poor decision-making tendencies, is a disservice to students, to educators, and to families. In fact, perhaps the greatest irony of the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act is its own internal enigma: FERPA isn’t protection for families; it’s protection from families.
FERPA’s spirit continues on its surreptitious path, even in fledgling programs. In 2009, the White House announced a move toward longer school days and longer school years, government programs that offer up to 300 more “instructional” hours of school (Quaid 2009). At present, it should be noted, United States school children spend approximately 1,146 hours in school, which is far more than the Asian countries that regularly outscore their US counterparts in science and math. Singapore, for example spends on 903 hours per year in school, and Japanese children spend 1,005 (Quaid 2009).
A teacher gets a child for a year. A parent has a child for a lifetime. Pouring more money into a system that is already failing is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
The sad truth is that the public school system in the United States has been on a downward spiral since 1964. The secret ingredient for success is not more money, and it’s certainly not more secrecy! The secret ingredient of success is the involved parent!! And this, at its core is the reason the government school system is trying to keep parents out of the mix. The system wants its goals to reign. Again, FERPA isn’t protection for families; it’s protection from families.
We must begin the process of restoring parents to their rightful place of authority and influence. Thankfully, HR5 has awakened parents to yet another level of control the Hitlerian state is trying to exert over our children. Mom and dad, it’s time for a public school exit.
We all know that traditional education is broken beyond repair. I’m calling all churches across the US to be part of the solution. Go to www.DrLisaDunne.com to discover how you can personally step into that rescue mission.
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Why not join the rescue mission today? Let’s take back the mantel of authority and place it where it truly belongs, squarely fitted on the shoulders of the parent.