On Saturday the Michigan Democratic Party posted on its official Facebook page, criticizing parents who want a say in the education of their children. After the post went viral and received significant backlash, the group deleted the post and claimed it did not reflect their views.
The post begins: “Not sure where this ‘parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids’ is originating, but parents do have the option to choose to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire.”
In reality, this ‘option to choose’ is only an option for those who can afford it, as Michigan is one of the most constitutionally restrictive states when it comes to school choice. Thus the state offers no voucher program to make such choices affordable for families. In other words, many parents simply do not have the choice.
The post goes on to argue against parental involvement in education, claiming the purpose of public education is to teach children “what society needs them to know.”
To the contrary, Michigan Law actually affirms the “natural, fundamental right of parents…to determine and direct” their child’s education:
It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil’s parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.
The school choice group, Great Lakes Education Project, asked state leaders to denounce the “classist” message: “The party’s classist attack on low-income and other parents is absolutely astonishing — and very telling. Public school is about kids, not Democrats’ political policy agenda,” said Executive Director Beth DeShone.
Mich. Sen. Mike Shirkey (R) said, “This is a slap in the face of parents who might not have the means to afford private school but who still expect and DESERVE a say in the education of their children.”
In a late attempt at damage control, the Mich. Democratic group deleted the viral post and claimed that the post does not reflect the views of Michigan Democrats.