Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Democrats Unveil Their Parents' Rights Thing

Well, I'll give them this much: rather than simply bitch about the House GOP proposed Parental Bill of Rights, the House Dems came up with a thing of their own. Since what the Dems are proposing is actually a "resolution" rather than an actual bill, it will have even less impact on reality than the GOP bill, whose main feature is its full-throated support of rights that parents already have. 

The Democrat's resolution is 8 pages long: the first is the intro, the next six are a bunch of "whereas" clauses, and then we finally arrive at what is resolved. 

The whereas's are a big bunch of the usual: schools are crucial public good, invest sufficient resources, cornerstone of democracy, all students benefit from diverse schools, education includes all [insert list here], skills needed to contribute to multiracial, multiethnic, diverse society, benefit from full history, special needs, students benefit from seeing themselves reflected in books etc, enough psychologists and counselors, broad definition of parents, parents want and deserve safety and dignity, parents eager to partner with educators, partnership, access to information about how students are doing, parent involvement is complementary and essential to, not separate from, the work of educators, schools hostile to LGBTQ students bad, dignity and respect and pronouns and names, discrimination bad, censoring books bad, cultural competency, mental and emotional health support for educators, gag law limitations bad, threats against teachers and schools bad...

And that's mostly it. I highlighted the one because I think maybe that was the one they really wanted to hit. But mostly it's a list so long that it becomes a sort of background hum, an list that reads like an attempt to throw everything and the kitchen sink at us, a display with so many points that it fails to have any real point. 

Anyway, the resolved part has four items. Resolved that the House of Representatives:

1) recognizes that schools are important and should be supported

2) "celebrates and encourages" the engagement of students and parents in the process, and collaboration in support of students is good

3) urges adoption of materials that are historically accurate, reflect diversity, and encourage critical thinking' 

4) "promotes the implementation of practices that reduce disparities, eliminate discrimination, and make elementary and secondary schools safer, more inclusive, and more supportive for all students."

And the point of this is... what? We already know who's going to vote for and against it. We already know how many people are going to be moved by it (spoiler: zero). We already know how much effect it will have on education policy (spoiler: also zero). 

It clarifies what Dems professes that is different from what the GOP professes? It ends the, "Well, then, what's your bright idea" conversation about the GOP bill. It creates the unusual spectacle of the GOP calling for more federal government intrusiveness than the Dems. 

It mostly says the right things. And while I'd rather have politicians saying the right kinds of things rather than other stuff, talk is cheap. Obama knew how to say the right thing about education. Heck, on his good days, so did Arne Duncan. But Democrats are far past the point where lip service for public education means much. Actual concrete actions in support of public education would mean far more. And if you want to talk about parental rights, I'll offer the same addendum I offered for the GOP bill:

The right to paid parental leave for 12 weeks after the child is brought home.

The right to wages sufficient to raise a family.

The right to affordable, quality child care so that parents can earn those wages.

The right to send their child to a fully funded, fully professionally staffed school.

The right to universal health care to guarantee the health and well-being of every child.

More political theater is not what anybody actually needs. I mean, if political theater is your job, then you do you. But both sides are going to need more than this for any kind of standing ovation.

No comments:

Post a Comment