A parent’s group have launched a campaign encouraging children to be taught how to think, not what to think.
The campaign by the new Boston-based group Parents United was sparked by parents looking into their children’s remote classrooms during the pandemic, said Ashley Jacobs, executive director. Troubled by content they found biased, inflammatory, or age-inappropriate, they asked two organizations working closely with the area’s private schools, the Association of Independent Schools in New England and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, to intervene Protect expression and a wide range of opinions on the K-12 locations they serve.
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The website of the new Boston-based group eschews party politics and instead focuses on the claim that students are “taught what to think, not how.” Since May, the website has attracted around 4,000 unique users and 400 newsletter subscribers, said Jacobs. The group includes Republican donor Chris Egan and his wife Jean on their advisory board, but Jacobs said their message was not political.
“We don’t choose a side – that’s the opposite of what we want,” she said. “Our goal is to empower parents to stand up for their children… We don’t want people to be afraid to ask a question or children to be afraid to say something because there are so many people [they] can offend.” Several parents “saw things that shocked them,” Jacobs said in online class, including a lesson asking middle school students to consider their gender identity; a discussion that assumed student support for the Black Lives Matter movement; and a request that students not use gender-specific language.
Parents also heard sessions on principles and values that they had accepted would leave them to teach their children how they wanted, she said. She declined to identify the schools involved for fear of any repercussions against the students whose parents are involved.