The Parents’ Rebellion
Terry McAuliffe, the once and (possibly) future governor of Virginia, said something during a campaign debate last week that surprised many of us who thought we couldn’t be surprised anymore by American politics: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Now, in America, States and specific locales run schools. The Constitution gives the Federal government no authority over education (despite Jimmy Carter’s creation of a Department of Education, which spends almost a quarter trillion dollars annually).
You could argue that parents and other voters in a given jurisdiction have already expressed their preferences by selecting mayors, school boards, etc. But as in any democratic context, that doesn’t mean those authorities then exist in a realm beyond criticism – or even removal – if parents who are voters and taxpayers are outraged by their performance.
Catholic Social Teaching also maintains that “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶ 2223) McAuliffe graduated from Bishop Ludden High School in Syracuse N.Y., the Catholic University of America, and the Georgetown Law Center. But, it appears, he remains untouched by that principle.