At some point in time, we have all encountered permission slips in schools. Whether you were signing one for your child or having one signed by your parent, it’s the form that a school requires to send home with students to gain their parents’ permission for a field trip, movie, or event. It’s also likely that at some point, you may have forgotten to have your parent sign your permission slip, rendering you unable to participate in an event with your friends.
I’m sure that every policymaker, school administrator, teacher, and parent can reflect on a time when they were a student that was not permitted to attend a field trip or watch a film due to their parent not signing off on it. Regardless of how you felt in the moment missing out, I think we can collectively agree that it’s important to leave the decision of what extracurricular functions a child is or isn’t allowed to do in the hands of parents.
Why is it now such a radical concept that parents seek to be engaged with their child’s learning environment? The education establishment has strayed so far away from parental choice that we now have an entire generation of students failing to reach adequate proficiency in mathematics and reading due to the school system being riddled with politically and socially fueled agendas. Parents are demanding more transparency and accountability, and the answer from the establishment is to paint engaged parents as politically charged radicals. Ironic, isn’t it?
For too long, our promise of a sound basic education (i.e., social studies, mathematics, health, and science) has been replaced by radical political teachings on critical race theory and gender fluidity. It’s time for us to remove the corrupt activists from our public school systems. Our top priority for the education system in North Carolina is to put students first. Parents are the solution.
Instead of allowing the education bureaucrats to continue pretending these problems don’t exist, we need to hold them accountable, demanding more transparency and say-so in our children’s learning environment.
Parents have a voice and it’s beyond time for us to take charge and be heard. We have every right to be engaged in the classroom, whether that looks like sending our child to school without a mask on, making personal medical decisions based on their needs, or opting out of topics in the classroom that we find controversial or opposed our worldview.
I’m thankful for the voices that are empowering families and rallying behind the movement for parental choice, like Kelly Mann and David N. Bass and the work of the John Locke Foundation’s Center for Effective Education, and especially those in the General Assembly leading the charge in the Education K-12 Committee such as Representatives Hugh Blackwell, John Torbett, and Charlie Miller, just to mention a few.
At the top of my legislative agenda is a Parents’ Bill of Rights, to include parents having access to the curriculum being taught in the classroom, a right to opt-out of guest lecturers or certain social topics, background information on who is teaching their child, sufficient accountability and transparency, and access to any information that is being collected on their child and where it’s being dispersed.
Masks are just the beginning, a metaphor for the time we live in now. That’s why this fight is so important to me, and that’s why I will be voting again this week to unmask our kids as we override the governor’s veto of the “Free the Smiles Act.”
We have a long way to go to accomplish our goals. As a father of two children in school, one in public and one in private, I commit to keeping this a priority at the top of my list as we focus on the next legislative session.
Rep. Ben Moss is a member of the NC General Assembly. He represents the 66th district which includes Richmond and Montgomery County and parts of Stanly County.