“Shut up,” he said.
That was the response from New Hampshire state Rep. Tommy Hoyt when a voter asked him to support “Parents Bill of Rights” legislation when it came up for a vote. Hoyt, a Democrat, declined — and not so politely.
“Do you know why children’s results tanked during COVID? Their parents were incompetent teachers. Do your children a favor, let the teachers teach, and shut up. You’re clearly no professional,” Hoyt wrote in an email.
Dismissing parents as incompetent and telling them to “shut up” may not sound like smart politics, but Hoyt is hardly alone. In the wake of what some call a parents’ revolution, teacher unions and their Democratic Party allies are pushing back with views on moms and dads that don’t appear designed to make friends or influence voters.
Just a few days before Hoyt’s comments, a Georgia state representative, Lydia Glaize, objected to an Education Freedom Account-style program being considered in the legislature.
“I see parents being able to direct their child’s education, and they are already in the lower 25-percentile, meaning a lot of those parents did not finish high school — could not finish their own education,” she said. “I am extremely concerned that we would put money in … the hands of parents who are not qualified to make those decisions.”
Are parents too dumb (“lower 25-percentile”) to make decisions about their children’s education? It’s a refrain heard more and more as school choice programs pick up steam across the United States.
“While none of us are particularly comfortable saying, ‘I don’t trust parents,’ let’s keep in mind that parents are just people — the same people whom various Americans don’t trust to make decisions about issues such as vaccines, abortion, gun ownership, marriage, voting and drug use,” wrote Kevin Welner, co-founder and director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s School of Education. Welner is the author of the book “The School Voucher Illusion.”
And then there’s Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who tweeted: “Teachers know what is best for their kids because they are with them every day. We must trust teachers.”
The immediate answer from some parents: “Whose kids?”
This is the debate over parents’ rights: Who should have the final authority over minor children, their parents or the educators hired to teach them?
In the case of the New Hampshire law, some schools have a policy of not telling parents about their children’s behavior at school regarding sex and gender. If the student is asking to be addressed by a different name or identifying as a gender different from their biological sex, the adults who work at the school — teachers, administrators, coaches, etc. — keep it a secret from parents even if the mom or dad ask them about it.
And when voters asked him about his position, he told them to “shut up.”
Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at School Choice Now, says this treatment of parents has become par for the education course.
“Representative Hoyt let the mask slip. These socialists think they know better than parents,” DeAngelis said. “They despise the very notion of parental rights because they really believe kids belong to the government.”
Hoyt offered a semi-apology after news broke about his comments.
“The way I feel is that children’s test scores in school performance dropped off drastically was because they didn’t have teachers. And the parents that thought, ‘We can replace them and can tell them what to do,’ that was not effective. I probably could have used better words,” Hoyt said.
But, DeAngelis predicts, parents will have the last word — at the ballot box.
“You would have thought the Democrats would have learned something from Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign blunder. Well, apparently not. Tommy Hoyt just told (former Virginia governor) Terry McAuliffe to ‘hold my beer.’
“When school choice opponents tell you who they are, believe them,” DeAngelis said.
Michael Graham is managing editor at InsideSources.com. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.