After being demonized, parent advocates doubt the sincerity of the Biden administration’s effort to mend fences

Parent advocates are highly skeptical of the Biden administration’s sudden pivot to try to reconcile itself with concerned parents it once sought to investigate as domestic terrorists. 

The U.S. Department of Education announced in a press release last week the establishment of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council. The council’s stated goal is to “facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools and parents, families and caregivers.” 

Parents are a child’s first teachers, and there’s no one better equipped to work with schools and educators to identify what students need to recover, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. 

That’s a far different tone set by Virginia’s then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who announced in a campaign debate last fall that, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” And critics note the new sentiment is a far cry from the Department of Justice’s decision last year to open investigations into parents angry at local school boards for COVID policies and radical teachings on gender and race. 

In addition, one of the members named by the Biden administration to the National Parents and Families Engagement Council — the National Parents Union – had publicly backed the National School Board Association letter that sought to weaponize the DOJ against parents. It was that letter that infamously compared angry parents to “domestic terrorists.” 

“If you threaten to kill school board members, you SHOULD hear from the Justice [Department],” National Parents Union president Keri Rodrigues posted on Twitter. 

Elizabeth McCauley, of the Virginia “Mothers for American Values, Education and NOVA Safety,” panned the committee’s makeup on Fox News 

“By and large my main frustration with the committee is its lack of representation of the very groups of parents who have felt so disenfranchised by school boards across the country,” McCauley said. “Asian American parents who have advocated to preserve merit-based admittance to government schools — in Fairfax County, that would be the Thomas Jefferson School; parents like myself who are highly concerned about pornographic novels with pedophilia in the schools; and parents who are working to stop medical discrimination in our schools, so students are not forced to comply with vaccine mandates of inoculations still under emergency use authorization.” 

Co-founder of Army of Parents Elicia Brand told Fox News they don’t believe their organization or similar organizations “are on Cardona’s invite list.” 

“Biden’s education council is made up of people and organizations that are in lockstep with the administration’s socialist ideology and agenda for our children,” Brand said.  

Parents Defending Education president Nicole Neily said she wasn’t surprised organizations such as hers were not invited to be on the council. 

“This is too little too late from this administration, which has made abundantly clear through its actions that it views actual parental input as an inconvenience,” Neily said in a statement to the media. “I would have hoped the Biden administration would realize the importance of bringing many perspectives to the table, but I am not surprised that other voices are not welcome.” 

“These astroturfed groups are the exact opposite of parents who got up at school board meetings to fight for their kids’ educations,” added Fox News contributor Karol Markowicz. “These groups are the same people standing in the way of parents. Secretary Cardona and the rest of the Biden administration think parents will be tricked by this group. They won’t.” 

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