By Bob Adelmann
Succumbing to political pressure, public exposure, and legal threats, the Biden administration last week quietly axed its ultra-left “National Parents and Families Engagement Council.” Its announcement was simple: “The Department [of Education] has informed plaintiffs [in a lawsuit against the agency] that it is immediately and permanently disbanding the Council, and that the Council will not hold any future meetings.”
The Council, formed in June, faced resistance from the very beginning: There were no parents invited onto the council, nor were any “family organizations” representing parents concerned about how their children were being indoctrinated in the public schools.
Instead, 11 of the 14 groups making up the council were left-wing, anti-parental-input collectivist ideologues.
The lawsuit said the council violated rules that required it to be “fairly balanced”; that the council violated rules of transparency, holding private meetings without prior public notice or public input; and that the council was designed from the beginning to fly under the radar, thus avoiding any meaningful oversight by Congress.
Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, immediately saw the danger:
Over the past year, the Biden Administration weaponized the federal government against parents who were peacefully and passionately exercising their rights to speak at school board meetings and to be involved in the education of their children.
This new “parents council” is nothing more than a public relations mirage, behind which are the same cabal of activist groups that created the very problems that parents have been working to fix at the local level.
We’re not fooled, and neither will the parents that wake up every day ready to fight for their children.”
Betsy DeVos, the former education secretary under President Trump, was also among the first to see the fraud and the danger. She called it “laughable”:
I think it’s a very laughable attempt to address what is a very glaring — clearly glaring — issue: parents across the country are upset for a variety of reasons … [and] they want to have control of their children’s education….
So, it’s just incredible to me that they would now set up something called a parents’ council and then populate it with individuals from all the alphabet soup organizations that … protect the system and the status quo.
Among those “alphabet soup organizations” is the National School Boards Association, or NSBA, that supported Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland when he proposed going after parents who disrupted school-board meetings, calling them “domestic terrorists.”
There was Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (“No Justice, No Peace”).
And there was the National Parents Union, headed up by a liberal union activist with a long history with the SEIU, the nation’s largest labor union. She saw the opportunity present in the council to mold, shape, and change the educational culture into the Marxist model. She called it “an opportunity … the education system in this country needs bold changes … [the committee is] ready to get to work and have their struggle and solutions heard in the halls of Washington, D.C.”
The final straw was likely the letter from Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that was sent just days before the ax came down. Joining with a number of his senatorial colleagues, Cassidy wrote to DOE Secretary Miguel Cardona:
[Your] department has filled the Council with organizations that have limited, if any, engagement at the local level. Most, if not all, of these organizations are liberal advocacy groups that seek to nationalize our education systems….
The Department’s failure to include anyone with a diverse set of parental, or even political, perspectives, makes the Council void of any balance.
Some are calling this dismissal of an odious Marxist government agency a “sweeping victory,” a “significant victory,” and so on. It is not. It is merely a temporary setback to Marxists and communists who know that the real target for their collectivist agenda is the students.