Our educational systems must foster student learning and growth


After enlisting the FBI to curb national violence against educators, Attorney General Merrick Garland received the ire of congressional republicans on Capitol Hill. Members of the House Judiciary Committee accused the attorney general of using law enforcement to inhibit the free speech of parents and stigmatize them as “domestic terrorists.” Congressional republicans rightly echo the legitimate concerns echoed by parents about excessive restrictions and the indoctrination of “critical race theory” among elementary school students. Restricting the free speech of parents — the primary educators of their children — and labelling them as insurrectionists disrupts the constitutional order and foments public distrust.
The attorney general did neither. He recognizes the importance of debate, even when vociferous. But when parents resort to violence and harassment, especially against educators, they contribute to the moral disorder they ostensibly oppose. The attorney general thus correctly condemns violence masquerading as free speech. Instead of politicizing his recent directive, which serves to protect educators and families, congressional republicans should orient their indignation to causes more compelling. They must fight educational systems which inhibit learning and growth. Many children in poor communities lack the same opportunities as their peers in wealthier districts.
Furthermore, public schools have quickly succumbed to radical ideologies with unnerving speed. When districts eschew their duty to provide competitive and equal opportunity, and when teachers direct a child’s imagination away from what is true, good, and beautiful, they betray parents’ trust. Congressional republicans must fight this wholeheartedly. Let the Justice Department protect teachers from physical harm.


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