Darrow Miller and Friends

Parents or the State: Who Owns the Children?

  1. What Has the Coronavirus Done to Our Schools?
  2. The Erosion of Higher Education
  3. A Virus Worse Than Covid-19
  4. Children: Bullseye of Comprehensive Sexuality Education
  5. Parents or the State: Who Owns the Children?
  6. Education in the Coronavirus: What Now?

Parents are pushing back against critical theory being taught in public schools.

The 1619 Project is an audacious attempt to deconstruct US history, developed by the New York Times, the so-called “paper of record” in the US. Their claim: the United States was founded, not in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, but in 1619 with the arrival of the first slave.

Begun in 2019 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the US “founding,” the Times “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative.”

The project goes on to state that the War of Independence was fought, not to establish a free and self-governing people, but to continue the institution of slavery.

The project is being promoted in public schools beginning with kindergarten. Students are taught America is an evil country of systemic racism. Whites, by virtue of their skin color, have privilege and are racists by nature.

Even the world-renowned Smithsonian Institute is promoting Critical Theory. It’s National Museum of African History and Culture–NMAAHC–has an online teaching tool, “Talking About Race” which claims: “Whiteness and white racialized identity refer to the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups are compared.”

The course includes a graphic titled “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness and White Culture in the United States.” The graphic summarizes “whiteness” and its vices, including,

  • The significance of the individual and personal responsibility,
  • The natural or “nuclear” family composed of father, mother and their children,
  • Objective thinking, i.e. the pursuit of truth, through science and rationality,
  • The dignity of work and entrepreneurship,
  • Delayed gratification.

Parents becoming homeschoolers

Parents are understandably upset. They thought their children were learning history, reading, writing, math, science, and geography, in short the traditional curriculum that created Western Civilization. They were mistaken. State-controlled school is more about socialization than education, indoctrination in what to think rather than teaching how to think, being politically correct as opposed to thinking critically.

During the coronavirus, school closures have led to many parents joining the home school ranks. Forty percent of these have said the process has been so rewarding they plan to continue even when schools reopen.

On the other hand, educators have responded. The government and educational establishment, and many parents, assume it’s the government’s responsibility, not only to teach children, but to teach them what the government wants them to know. Parents are often seen as bystanders or even obstacles in their children’s education.

The new ideology: children belong to the state, their relationship to their family is secondary. The state, not the parents, has legal authority and responsibility for children and their education.

Richard Dawkins said children belong to the state not to parentsFamed evolutionary biologist, Dr. Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion laid the foundation of this tyranny:

How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?

Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods [like “there is a God” or “we live in a moral universe”]? Isn’t it always a form of child abuse to label children as possessors of beliefs that they are too young to have thought about?

Do children belong to the state?

Dawkins and other evolutionary atheists, make the basic relationship between children and the state, not children and their family. There is no higher authority than the state. Parents propagate children, but the state owns them. The state is responsible for their care and education.

Modern educators, operating in this worldview, are now finding their methods exposed as parents monitor their children’s education. These teachers see parents as a threat, especially when they move to take responsibility for their chidren’s education.

Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet wants to ban homeschooling. Bartholet is the Director of the Child Advocacy Program. Here’s the abstract of her 80-page article, “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection” published in the Arizona Law Review in 2020.

This Article describes the rapidly growing homeschooling phenomenon and the threat it poses to children and society. Homeschooling activists have in recent decades largely succeeded in their deregulation campaign, overwhelming legislators with aggressive advocacy. As a result, parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children. Many homeschool because they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to our democracy, determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives. Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Abusive parents can keep their children at home free from the risk that teachers will report them to child protection services. Some homeschool precisely for this reason. This Article calls for a radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights. It recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool.

Homeschooling is a threat?

Bartholet states homeschooling is a “threat … to children and society.” The state, not parents, knows what is best for children and society. A “radical transformation” of the concept and practice of homeschooling is needed. Children have a right to be free from the influence of their parents. Parents must prove to the state that they have a right and are qualified to teach their own children.

Clearly, homeschooling and parental engagement in their children’s learning is a threat to statism and state-sponsored education.

Matthew R. Kay is a public school teacher who feels threatened by parental engagement in their children learning from home. Kay, a teacher and author, tweeted what many “progressive” teachers think about their student’s parents monitoring the indoctrination of their children.

Here are Kay’s tweets that have gone viral:

So, this fall, virtual class discussions will have many potential spectators—parents, siblings, etc.—in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?

Matthew R. Kay (@MattRKay)

How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of “what happens here stays here” to help this?

Matthew R. Kay (@MattRKay)

teacher Matthew R. Kay doesn't want parents to see his classroomWhile conversations about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment – I am most intrigued by the damage that “helicopter/snowplow” parents can do in honest converations about gender/sexuality …

Matthew R. Kay (@MattRKay)

And while “conservative” parents are my chief concern – I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kids racism or homophobia or transphobia – how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?

Matthew R. Kay (@MattRKay)

“Re-imagining” the family

The key institutions of society are being “re-imagined” by the post-modern Critical Theory ideology. This includes such basic and diverse institutions and fields as family, governance, church, education, communication, politics, marketing, and technology. Education is one of the major portals though which free and prospering societies are being undermined.

This is happening in your children’s public school.

  • Darrow Miller

… to be continued



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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).