Parent advocate groups have joined forces to sue the U.S. Department of Education, alleging its new parents council isn’t ideologically balanced.
The DOE announced in a June 14 press release the establishment of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council. The council’s stated goal is to “facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools and parents, families and caregivers.”
But America First Legal Foundation, Fight for Schools and Families, and Parents Defending Education filed a joint federal lawsuit against the Biden DOE, claiming its council’s political bias violates federal law.
Fourteen organizations comprise the National Parents and Families Engagement Council, 11 of which have leaders who made campaign contributions to Biden or other Democrats. Teachers’ unions that publicly backed the National School Board Association letter that sought to weaponize the DOJ against parents also are a part of the DOE’s parents council.
Political bias violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which states advisory committee memberships must be balanced in the points of view represented and the duties performed.
“Defendant Cardona selected members that are agreeable, not balanced,” the lawsuit reads.
“The facts are clear: the Department of Education has skirted the law and created a partisan cheerleading squad to advance the Biden administration’s radical agenda at the Department of Education,” said America First Legal Vice President Gene Hamilton.
According to the suit, the council has met without public notice and hasn’t made all documents available for public inspection, also violating FACA regulations.
In addition, the suit claims, the council’s very establishment is not authorized by law or presidential order, and has not been recorded in the Federal Register as required. Nor has the council’s charter been submitted for such things as congressional oversight as required by FACA, the lawsuit argues.
“The creation of this rubber-stamp council shows that the Biden administration is desperately trying to whitewash its flagrant disregard for American parents by pretending to finally listen to families’ concerns,” Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily said in a statement.
“Sadly, they’ve merely shown that they really only want to listen to the views of their political allies and not the vast majority of average parents – which has become a pattern and practice for this group of ideologically motivated activists.”
The DOE council is a “public relations mirage,” added Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools and Families. “We’re not fooled and neither will be the parents that wake up every day ready to fight for their children.”