A major element of the far-right's culture wars is their growing movement for so-called "parent's rights" in determining what's taught in public schools. Banning books which treat diversity, racial issues, sexuality and other topics offensive to the American Taliban has been long underway in Gov. Ron "Bootsie / Meatball Ron" DeSantis' increasingly fascistic Florida. Virginia's ambitiously cynical Gov. Glenn "Red Fleecer" Youngkin tried out the ban of "critical race theory" in schools canard and gained votes in his 2021 election bid.
Republicans have noticed the traction from bogus education issues, so it's not surprising that the Republican House has passed a bill by a narrow 213 to 208 which would spread the right-wing "parental rights" book banning virus nationwide. [Ed.: see Rep. Raskin's takedown in the Tweets of the Day, below]. From The Hill's reporting:
"The measure would require schools to publish their curricula publicly, mandate that parents be allowed to meet with their children’s teachers and make schools give information to parents when violence occurs on school grounds.
It would also demand that parents receive a list of books and reading materials accessible at the school library and give parents a say when schools are crafting or updating their policies and procedures for student privacy, among other tenets.
At a time when when Republicans have accused Democrats of painting parents as a threat and in the wake of contentious school board meetings around the country, the legislation also says school and government officials 'should never seek to use law enforcement to criminalize the lawfully expressed concerns of parents about their children’s education,' and that the 'First Amendment guarantees parents and other stakeholders the right to assemble and express their opinions on decisions affecting their children and communities.'" (our emphasis)
That last paragraph refers to the often violent disruptions of school board meetings nationwide that have been a performative stage for a far-right activist minority. Their goal is to inject school curricula with false narratives about our history and culture, whitewashing minority group struggles and contributions, and indoctrinating children in a manner designed by right-wing Christofascists.
Fortunately, the bill is going nowhere, with the Senate poised to kill it. But it's a good example of what would happen if the MAGA party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, and why they have to be stopped.
(photo: Protest at a 2021 school board meeting in Virginia. Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters)