Don’t let the Department of Education silence our kids

(The Daily Signal) – The Founding Fathers recognized that an educated citizenry was vital to the survival of our republic. Thomas Jefferson, for example, saw education as essential to giving…

(The Daily Signal) – The Founding Fathers recognized that an educated citizenry was vital to the survival of our republic. Thomas Jefferson, for example, saw education as essential to giving every citizen the opportunity to participate meaningfully in a free society.

Writing in 1818, our third president described public education as “the means to give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business … to express and preserve his own ideas … to improve his morals and faculties … to understand his duties, and to exercise his rights.” 

In 1972, Congress—recognizing certain inadequacies in the law for women that didn’t fully live up to that Jeffersonian vision free from harassment and discrimination—passed Title IX of the Education Amendments.

For 52 years, Title IX has protected women’s pursuit of their dreams, expanding their athletic, academic, and economic opportunities. 

Now the Biden administration and its Education Department, in thrall to radical gender ideology, would erase that progress.

In deciding to reinterpret the statute by replacing “sex” with “gender identity,” the Biden administration would transform a statute meant to protect women into one that would punish them. From kindergarten to college, girls would be unable to raise their voices to protect the very rights Title IX affirmed for them for more than five decades. 

The ramifications are deeply unsettling.

Last year in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, parents sounded the alarm when a fully intact male coach, who goes by the name Sasha Yates and identifies as a woman, regularly changed in the girls’ locker room, exposing his male genitalia in front of 15- and 16-year-old girls. In West Virginia, a group of girls was banned from a track meet after refusing to compete against a male in a shot-put competition.

Under the Biden administration’s proposed rule change, those girls could be cited for sexual harassment for expressing extremely natural and justified concerns about their mental and physical well-being. 

These rules operate in conjunction with academic curricula and counseling programs that are meant to drive a wedge between children and parents. They are also deliberately designed to undermine our children’s ability to use logic and reason to understand the world, which was, until recently, the real purpose of education. 

Once again, compelled speech and censorship come into play.

Elementary school students who plainly see their teacher as a man in a dress are told to defy their senses and pretend that adult is a woman. Students who might feel uncomfortable accommodating someone else’s ever-changing personal pronouns or sharing a restroom with someone of the opposite sex are pushed to seek mental health counseling.

Then these students are emotionally manipulated into believing that if they speak the truth, they are driving trans students toward self-harm. Teachers who reject this newspeak are cowed into submission, facing disciplinary action should they stand up for the truth.

We once had a school system where children developed the tools to make up their own minds and navigate the world. We now have one where children are trained to submit to the gender ideology du jour.

Such a model is incompatible with the maintenance of a free society. But, of course, that’s the point. 

This is a war on our families, our children, and the First Amendment. And make no mistake, the Biden administration is taking steps such as this because it is losing.

Across the country, organizations such as Moms for Liberty, Leadership Institute, and Moms for America are mobilizing concerned parents to run for school boards and push back on this madness. 

Louisiana recently became the 11th state to pass universal school choice, giving parents more authority over where their children attend school. At the behest of groups such as the American Principles Project, states are passing laws to protect girls sports and ban the social and physical gender transition of our children.

And here at Southeastern Legal Foundation, we are working tirelessly both in and out of the courtroom to challenge these Biden administration measures and protect the rights of our students to speak the truth. 

Everywhere you turn, engaged parents and grandparents are bridging the partisan divide to restore and preserve an educational system that gives our kids the skills they need to be upstanding citizens in a free republic. They are bravely guarding the ability of our children to reason, to dream, and to speak the truth without fear of retribution from some Orwellian Ministry of Truth.

Now, more than ever, we must come together to support and learn from each other, to share our stories and to show the Washington bureaucrats that we will not sit idly by while they rob our kids of their birthright.

That’s why I’ll join the March for Kids on Aug. 31 on the National Mall, demonstrating peacefully with thousands of families to remind the government that we won’t let the bureaucrats steal our children’s right to speak freely.

Parents and grandparents who care about the education of their children should join us.