Michigan Democratic Party Deletes Post Saying Parents Aren’t ‘Clients of Public Schools’

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The Michigan Democratic Party has taken down a Facebook post claiming that the purpose of public education is not to teach children what their parents see fit for them, but what “society needs them to know.”

“Not sure where this ‘parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids’ is originating, but parents do have the option to choose to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire,” read the Jan. 15 post on the Facebook page run by the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee.

“The purpose of a public education in a public school is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know,” the post continued. “The client of the public schools is not the parent, but the entire community, the public.”

The message apparently contradicts to Michigan’s own public education law, as pointed out by one user in the comments section. The user, who identified as an employee of Rockford Public Schools, cited a section of the Michigan Revised School Code, which states:

“It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil’s parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive manner.”

“Michigan Democratic Party, you should familiarize yourselves with the document,” the user wrote.

It wasn’t until Monday that the Michigan Democratic Party reacted to the overwhelmingly negative response, saying it had deleted the post from its official Facebook page. The post had been shared about 2,500 times before it was taken down.

“Parents need to have a say in their children’s education, end of story,” the new message read. “The [deleted] post does not reflect the views of Michigan Democrats and should not be misinterpreted as a statement of support from our elected officials or candidates.”

The original post drew much criticism from Michigan Republicans, including state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, as well as several candidates seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in this year’s gubernatorial race.

“This is a slap in the face of parents who might not have the means to afford private school but who still expect and DESERVE a say in the education of their children,” Shirkey said on Twitter.

Michigan is considered to have very little regulation when it comes to parents pulling students out of public schools, except that those who choose to teach their own children at home are legally required to have “an organized educational program” covering certain subjects, such as English language, mathematics, science, and history. According to pro-homeschooling organization Home School Legal Defense Association, Michigan is one of 11 states that do not require parents to notify local government or education authorities before they start homeschooling their children.

By Bill Pan

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