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3 Things Parents Should Know Heading Into The School Year

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As students head back into classrooms across America, parents must armor themselves and their sons and daughters with more than new backpacks and No. 2 pencils.

Parents used to be able to send their children off to the local public schools and trust that the adults in charge of their son or daughter’s education had their best interest at heart. Fast forward to today with all the problems facing our public education system — moms and dads should no longer blindly send their K-12 students off to any school without first educating themselves on what is happening in their local classrooms.

This back-to-school season, it is essential to pay attention to three main areas of education: approved classroom curriculum, updated school policies and online student surveys.

Education bureaucrats everywhere have been pushing back on the claim that there’s politically divisive lessons being taught in public schools and act insulted when anyone questions the existence of such curricula in the classroom. Yet, students across the country regularly log in to massive online learning websites, like Newsela and Second Step, that tout anti-racism and diversity lessons with oppressor and oppressed narratives weaved throughout.

Precious classroom instruction time is spent talking about feelings — otherwise known as social emotional learning — instead of facts. Schools are struggling to maintain core subject teachers. At the same time, they stack their payroll with social workers and counseling professionals.

While one can argue that it is important to have mental health workers in school, we have to remind ourselves why we are seeing a dramatic increase in the first place: school lockdowns and the damage caused by them.

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, parents must do their due diligence and learn about their school’s approved online platforms and curricula being used to teach K-12 students in the classroom this year. Dads and moms must look beyond the textbooks and handouts provided by education leaders. It’s vital that parents do their own research to see the motives and values behind the curriculum curtain.

In doing so, parents will gain important insights into the ideology, goals, and political leanings (if any) of the companies providing educational materials to their local schools.

The second thing that parents need to keep their eye on this coming school year is any updated school district politics – especially any that flew under the radar over the summer. Updated school district policies are rolling out across the country as the Biden administration puts female students’ safety and privacy at risk by allowing biological males who identify as females to use the girls’ bathroom and locker rooms.

Schools across the nation are preparing for this change by implementing policies saying that no student will be “forced” to use a restroom or locker room that does not align with his or her gender identity.

Dress code policies throughout our country’s school systems are also being rewritten to eliminate the use of gender-specific terms. Schools are replacing the parent title with “trusted adult” on forms requiring a signature from mom or dad. Teachers are also being asked to refrain from using “boy or girl” in the classroom and refer to children only as students.

Parents of K-12 students need to check in and learn about any new gender identity policies or gender support plans being developed and rolled out in school districts nationwide so as not to be blindsided by any new policies already implemented or under consideration.

Another area that parents should investigate as their children head back to school are the surveys that their children might be taking in class. Online student surveys have ramped up in recent years. Many school districts have spent thousands of their federal COVID-19 relief funds on social-emotional learning surveys from for-profit companies such as Panorama Education, which Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law owns.

Actively Learn and other online curriculum vendors consistently survey children throughout their lessons, asking children, “How concerned are you about the effects of climate change?” or “How can subconscious (implicit) biases affect the actions that an individual may take?” Parents must question where all of their student’s information input is going and for what purpose these social and cultural questions are being asked.

Children must understand that when they hear an adult at school say “don’t tell your parents” or “what is said in this classroom, stays in this classroom,” they should run straight to mom or dad with that information. No adult should be coercing minor children into secrecy on any subject. Parents must protect their students from secretive surveys and have the right, for any reason, to opt-out of any survey their child is asked to take.

Parents should make a great effort to develop positive rapport and relationships with school administrators and their child’s educators this upcoming school year. But they must also educate themselves by attending school board meetings to learn what is happening in their local district and then be willing to hold their education leaders and elected officials accountable this school year and beyond. If they don’t, they may come to regret it later.

Amy Carney is the Deputy Director of Building Education for Students Together (BEST), a project of FreedomWorks.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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