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Democracy in Education

State of the Union: The New York Times supports withholding information from parents to achieve a “democratic system of education.”

1940s 1950s HIGH SCHOOL...
(Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

Writing about House Republicans' proposed "Parents Bill of Rights" this morning in the New York Times, Jamelle Bouie argues that the parents' rights movement is undermining the pursuit of "a more equitable and democratic system of education" and empowering "a conservative and reactionary minority of parents to dictate education and curriculums to the rest of the community."

The bill Bouie mentions would allow parents of public school students to access their children's curricula, know which books are in the school library, and be notified should school officials seek to change their children's "gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name[s]." 

Apparently, achieving a more "democratic system of education" requires withholding information from parents and allowing unelected teachers and administrators to operate without oversight.

When progressives say "democracy," they are not talking about a system of government characterized by majority rule. They are talking about their substantive commitments. Democracy, they argue, is characterized by the ability of all people to participate in the system. You're unlikely to find a majority of parents anywhere in the country who want homosexual erotica in their children's libraries, but if exposing children to "alternative sexualities" is a prerequisite for their development of "democratic values," it doesn't matter what parents want.

If an electoral majority wants to impinge upon what progressives consider the prerequisites of minority groups' participation in the system, they will defend anti-majoritarian measures as a means to save "democracy" from itself. They will subvert current electoral majorities to secure future electoral majorities—all in the name of democracy, of course.