“This is so stupid” was the message of a U.S. congressman about a fellow lawmaker’s support of parents’ rights in education.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, made his “stupid” remark in response to a statement Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, made upon winning re-election on Nov. 8.
“We are putting parents back in charge of their kids’ education,” Scott reportedly said.
Swalwell took to Twitter in protest the next day.
“Please tell me what I’m missing here. What are we doing next? Putting parents in charge of their own surgeries? Clients in charge of their own trials? When did we stop trusting experts. This is so stupid,” Swalwell tweeted, with a screenshot of a Fox News broadcast picturing Scott alongside the quote.
After his attack, Swalwell was roundly ridiculed online for comparing surgical procedures and legal defense with education.
“This might be the most asinine comparison and general view of a parent’s role in their own child’s education that I have ever seen publicly stated,” Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden tweeted.
“We stopped trusting ‘experts’ when they locked our kids out of classrooms, tried to force-feed them propaganda, and proved that their political agendas were more important than our kids’ wellbeing,” Nicki Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, wrote in another tweet.
“As their mother, I am the expert of my kids,” tweeted Rebeccah Heinrichs, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
“Parents choose the medical procedures their child will undergo, which doctors will perform it. Clients choose which lawyer will represent them, whether they will go to trial, etc. This example is a perfect one for why parents should choose schools, teachers, and even curriculum,” criminal defense attorney Marina Medvin tweeted.
“Clients get to choose their attorneys and get to tell their attorneys what to do so yeah, it’s exactly like that,” tweeted Preston Byrne, a lawyer and political commentator.
Swalwell is among several Democrats publicly challenging the conservative pro-parent message.
In one notable example, when former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was debating his Republican gubernatorial opponent Glenn Youngkin, he directly opposed Youngkin’s advocacy for parental authority.
“You believe school systems should tell children what to do,” Youngkin said. “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
McAuliffe replied, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Many believe McAuliffe’s remark spurred Youngkin to victory, as politically moderate Virginians joined Youngkin’s pro-parent message.