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Hearing Recap: K-12 Education Edition

“From elementary school to law school, the state of this nation’s education system is deeply troubling at every level,” Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in her opening statement during the Education and the Workforce Committee’s first hearing of the 118th Congress. Education is the building block of a self-governed society and a thriving workforce. If our nation’s education system isn’t strong, none of our systems or institutions will be strong.

Protecting Parental Rights
Protecting parental rights is a priority for Republicans. In government-run K-12 schools across the country, parents were kicked out of the decision-making process for their children’s curriculum by politically charged teachers unions and special interest groups.
As Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) said during the hearing, “Parent involvement in the education of their children—I see that as good. With all due respect, I don’t see that as anything other than how it ought to be. It’s paramount to a student's success. However, in recent years we have seen a push by teachers unions and school districts sadly to exclude parents from the education of their children.”
Republican witness Virginia Gentles, Director of the Education Freedom Center at the Independent Women’s Forum, listed many of the issues facing K-12 education from “school systems determined to view parents as the enemy” to “powerful teachers’ unions and education bureaucracies that reject transparency and accountability, yet relentlessly demand more funding.”
Addressing Learning Loss
Students forced into more remote learning during the 2020-2021 school year suffered disproportionately high levels of learning loss. The Biden administration allowed the American Federation of Teachers to rewrite key portions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s school reopening guidance. In addition, large urban school districts with entrenched union power were less likely to reopen in the fall of 2021.
As Representative Bob Good (R-VA) stated during questioning, students were kept out of the classroom despite the fact that most were not at risk from serious illness from COVID-19. “History will judge us harshly for how we sacrificed children on the altar of poor political decisions… because we put teachers unions ahead of students throughout this whole process and we continue to do it today,” he said.
Expanding Education Freedom
President Biden didn’t make a single reference to education freedom in his State of the Union address last night. Republican lawmakers did not follow suit. In today’s hearing, Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) talked about the importance of ensuring a child’s ZIP code does not determine his or her quality of education. He stated, “[School choice] really shouldn’t be a partisan issue; school choice is about giving every child a chance to succeed in life no matter their circumstances.” 

In case you missed it, here’s some coverage of yesterday's hearing:  

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