The best way for parents to prevent their children from learning critical race theory isn’t for Congress to ban it from being taught, according to Virginia Rep. Bob Good.
A more effective approach could be to restructure the system so education funding follows the student, allowing parents to decide where to send their children to school, the freshman Republican said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
“I think one of the greatest things is to empower parents with school choice,” Good said.
The fight over critical race theory in the classroom inspired a grassroots movement across the country this spring, turning local school board meetings into chaotic scenes and igniting a national conversation about the way children should learn about racism.
Virginia has played host to one of the most high-profile of the critical race theory battles in the country, which has unfolded in Loudoun County, an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C.
But Good said he regularly hears from parents in his 21-county district, the largest in Virginia, that “critical race theory-oriented” material is taught in their children’s schools.
“One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that parents were much more engaged in what their children were being taught,” Good said. “When the kids were learning from home and parents were involved in supervising that online learning, they actually saw what was being taught in the classroom.”
Good said he has also pushed for more transparency in the classroom, so parents have more insight into the kinds of lessons their teachers are providing.
“That’s one of the reasons, by the way, that I advocate for cameras in the classroom,” he said.
“I think if parents could see at any time what was being taught in the classroom, it would help them to be engaged and empowered and in control of what’s being taught, and it would hold the educators accountable for what they’re teaching.”
Several state legislatures have passed laws banning the instruction of critical race theory, and in several others, the state school board has issued to districts standards that prohibit critical race theory.
But Good said he believes decisions about curriculum should remain at the district and school board level, where they are most frequently made.
“I believe in local control of education, that the people in Loudoun County … my home county, Campbell County, in my district, that the people in those counties ought to have control over their school system,” he said. “We don’t need Washington, D.C., mandating that.”
Conservatives have long advocated for varying levels of school choice, or providing families directly with funding that allows them more control over where to send their children. Presently, many students are forced to attend schools based on their ZIP codes.
Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, introduced a bill earlier this year that would allow low-income families to access funding that they could put in “education savings accounts,” known as 529 accounts. Good said he supports the legislation.
Some conservatives have used the fight over critical race theory to push more aggressively for school choice reforms. The term “school choice” encompasses an array of reforms, including giving parents a voucher to spend at their preferred school and creating the education spending accounts that Good supports.
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Author: ThinkCivics Newswire
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