Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe says parents shouldn’t ‘be telling schools what they should teach’

Former Virginia governor and current gubernatorial candidate for Virginia Terry McAuliffe said he believes that parents should not tell schools what to teach.

On Tuesday night, during Virginia’s gubernatorial debate, McAuliffe voiced his opinion that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” He has garnered a lot of criticism for this remark, which has since become a part of a campaign ad for his opponent, Glenn Youngkin.

During the debate, McAuliffe was asked: “Mr. McAuliffe, your campaign website promises that you will implement the Department of Education’s new policy to protect transgender students. Now that’s a policy that allows students to use the restroom and locker room that matches their gender identity and requires school employees to address students by their chosen pronouns. But in the last debate, you said that it should be up to local school districts to create their own policies. So which should it be: state-wide protection or local choice?”

While initially answering in regards to the issue of transgenderism in children, the dialogue and responses from the two candidates eventually led to McAuliffe saying that parents should let the schools decide what to teach in response to Youngkin expressing that parents should be more active in schools. 

While in office as governor the last time, McAuliffe vetoed legislation in 2016 and 2017 that would have alerted parents to sexually explicit content being present in curriculum or books accessible to their children. In the debate, he claimed that he vetoed the bill because it would have allowed parents to come into schools and “take books off the shelves”.

Since McAuliffe’s remarks on Tuesday, he has received widespread criticism, especially from parents, who want to have a say in their child’s education. Some took to Twitter to express their anger and shock at his words.

The former president of the Virginia Board of Education, Chris Braunlich told the Center Square, “One of the strengths of Virginia’s education system is that most curriculum decisions are supposed to be decided at the local level and, preferably, as close to the school and classroom level as possible, where the influence of parents is strongest. It is precisely when the influence of parents is undercut that community support falters and reflects itself in bond referenda and a loss of enrollment: this has demonstrated itself over the public school administration during Covid.”

The election will be held on November 2, with current polls pointing to it being a close race. The Washington Post published their own fact-checked article regarding this debate.




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