Having read many of the comments supporting and opposing this ruling, I would say the following:
Parents are a critical factor in every child’s education. They work with the student to make sure he or she is doing homework and understands how to plan time well to meet deadlines. They stay in touch with the teacher every step of the way to make sure the child is making good progress and not falling behind. A parent’s job is not to set curriculum unless that parent is with the VA Department of Education or a school administrator. A parent has plenty of options to raise concerns, to complain to a teacher or school administrator, and to volunteer in a child’s classroom or at the school.
The point of a public education is to make sure all children get a shot at his or best life. And, yes, sometimes, what is required is to learn about difficult points in American and world history and to be exposed to all sorts of literature. A big part of education is broadening kids’ horizons and exposing them to the big world out there. A parent’s job is not to impose your own personal societal and religious norms. If you choose to do that, home schooling or – like our Governor - pricey private schools might be better options.
It is a slippery slope between voicing one’s concerns about public school curricula and wanting to play an active role in selecting and rejecting texts. But as someone whose child received an excellent early education in Arlington County public schools and who graduated from a prestigious college and law school, I think letting great teachers be great teachers is the best way to ensure a great education for our children. I am the grandmother of four children in PA public schools and all four, thankfully, love school and love learning.
A parent has a critical role to play in education but that role should not extend to setting curricula or banning books and other materials. If a parent wants to do that, he or she should make sure they have the master’s degree to be a teacher and then leave their current position and join the ranks of educators. VA schools will need all the new teachers it can find. There are plenty of teacher vacancies throughout the state, thanks to record early retirements and career switching happening in public schools today. If we continue to treat professional teachers as people who don’t have our kids’ best interests at heart, the rate of those leaving will only accelerate.