To the editor:
Glenn Youngkin’s education advertisement took Terry McAuliffe’s comment out of context. McAuliffe said, “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions,” adding, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Omitting the first sentence changes the meaning. Those who take comments out of context or regurgitate a partisan advertisement are complicit in degrading dialogue.
What do those who are citing this comment want? In Alexandria, parents have a say in what is taught in public schools through an elected School Board. And, no, the FBI is not coming after parents for what they advocate schools should teach children.
Individual parents should not dictate curriculum – that is a community decision. Curriculum generally reflects the views of the community even when it is biased or incorrect. Virginia history texts taught that slaves were generally well-treated and minimized slavery as a cause of the Civil War. Most but the most recalcitrant apologist recognizes that was absurd.
My father told me this was a sugar-coated version of history. Parents will sometimes disagree with what topics schools should either include or omit from their curriculums, but one of the benefits of an education outside the home is the exposure to different ideas.
Times change and what at one time was accepted as truth sometimes is revealed as incorrect. Limiting education to only things we all agree on or including endless alternatives, however, would make education meaningless or impossible.
Most of us know Earth orbits the sun. We certainly do not want to teach that the Holocaust did not occur or the flat-world view is a viable explanation to the structure of our solar system just because a few parents believe those things.
-Philip Brinkman, Alexandria