by James A. Bacon
Who is sovereign in the United States — the people or the cultural elite and political class? Whose values should be reflected in the public schools — those of the people or those of the cultural elite and the political class?
That is the No. 1 question Virginia voters face in the gubernatorial race of 2021. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe made the issue crystal clear — and whose side he is on — when he said during the debate with Republican Glenn Youngkin: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
The answer begs the question. If not parents, who should tell schools what they should teach? Sure, public schools need bureaucrats who are expert in the process of devising standards, curricula, methods, and tests. Sure, teachers don’t need parents micromanaging them. But who, ultimately, do the bureaucrats and teachers answer to?
Normally, such a question would not get people exercised. But these are not normal times. A movement of the cultural elites, originating in academia with increasing support from the political class, is pushing to convert schools from centers of learning into incubators for sweeping social and cultural change.
McAuliffe is not alone in believing that government knows best. Voices in the political class are openly expressing their contempt for the increasingly vocal protesters at school board meetings as an ill-informed rabble.