Amid an ongoing political battle over parental rights in education, President Joe Biden threw the latest salvo, suggesting students are the teachers' children, raising eyebrows of conservatives defending parents' right to raise their kids.
Ian Prior, executive director of the political action committee Fight for Schools in Loudoun County, Virginia, called Biden's remarks "appalling," while the Parents Defending Education director said Biden raised a "red flag" with his "very unsettling" remarks.
"It is absolutely appalling that the president of the United States would effectively claim that the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children end at the schoolhouse door," Prior wrote in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
"It's frightening that Joe Biden is taking his talking points from failed gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and [American Federation of Teachers] President Randi Weingarten, but at least parents now know exactly where he stands — against them and their fundamental liberty right to make decisions on the education and upbringing of their children."
Parents Defending Education's Erika Sanzi denounced Biden for taking exception to parents' rights to awareness of, if not a say in, what their children are being taught in schools.
"Biden's comment raises a red flag because, when layered upon school districts refusing to share curricular materials with parents and adopting policies that explicitly call for the deception of parents, the whole thing is very unsettling," Sanzi told the Examiner.
"Add the National School Boards Association coordinating with the White House on a letter that referred to parents as 'domestic terrorists' and is it any wonder parents have a problem with his comments?"
The comment that elicited the statements on Biden came after the president held a White House event honoring the 2022 national and state teachers of the year Wednesday.
"You've heard me say it many times about our children, but it's true: They're all our children," Biden said. "And the reason you're the Teachers of the Year is because you recognize that. They're not somebody else's children; they're like yours when they're in the classroom."
Prior's remark referenced the Virginia school boards battle amid COVID-19 protocols and the 2021 election of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican who ran against McAuliffe, a Democrat and former Virginia governor, on a platform of parental rights.
McAuliffe's position on education, saying that "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," was seized upon by Youngkin throughout his campaign and reached moderate and independent voters in the key battleground state.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, also signed a political hot-button, parental rights in education law that seeks to restrict K through third grade public schools from broaching controversial topics of sex and gender dysphoria with the state's youngest students.
Prior tweeted Wednesday that Biden's latest remark will affect the November midterm elections: "2022 is gonna make 1994 and 2010 look like wavelets."
Those elections were first-term midterm elections when Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were in office.
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