by James C. Sherlock

Current Virginia law and Terry McAuliffe cannot coexist.

“A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

Code of Virginia § 1-240.1. Rights of parents.

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Terry McAuliffe, Sept 28, 2021

Let’s walk that forward. 

Progressives all over Virginia and the nation were horrified. They consider McAuliffe’s words to be dogma. But they wish he hadn’t exposed it so publicly. 

During an election bid.

So, now that the cat’s out of the bag, let’s experiment with changes to  § 1-240.1. Rights of parents and see what it takes to make it comport with progressive thinking.

An updated, progressive Code of Virginia § 1-240.1

“A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

That would help McAuliffe with the education thing but doesn’t get it done.   

What about the new DOE regulation that requires schools not to notify parents if 6 year-old Bobby comes to school one day and confides that he would rather be LaVerne?

“There are no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity, and school staff should work with students to help them share the information with their family when they are ready to do so.”

Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools, Virginia Department of Education

So, let’s try again.

“A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

Still doesn’t work.  

Virginia moved the regulation of child care facilities to the VDOE as of July 1. Progressives organized as schools of public health at major universities seek a very long list of regulations government the licensing of child care centers with which Virginia does not yet comply.  

Take a look at the list. Not a lot of room for parents to have an opinion.

So one more try on that darn law.

“A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions.” concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

That should do it.  

For now.

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30 responses to “McAuliffe Lets the Cat out of the Bag”

  1. “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions, but the local authorities are free to call in the Federal government apparatuses should that decision be deemed wrong.” much more accurate……

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Good call. I did not mention the federal government on purpose. The language of the pending multi-trillion dollar “Build Back Better” legislation would flex the supremacy clause and take the progressive wish list on education from birth through 12th grade and federalize it.

  2. To borrow from Richmond’s own Steve Bannon McAwful “…said the quiet part out loud.”

  3. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It was a dumb statement for McAuliffe to make. Dumb, because it was so broad. But, to all those who are making so much hay over it, think about it for a few minutes. Do you really want parents telling schools what to teach? For example, should an English teacher’s reading list be subject to parental approval? If so, which parents? All of them, a majority, or a vocal minority? Before allowing parents to veto any books on a list, should the parents be required to read any book being objected to?

    What about Virginia history? If some parents object to a teacher telling her students about Virginia and Massive Resistance, should that teacher be silenced? What about a teacher who describes how slaves were beaten, families broken up, forbidden to learn to read? If any parents object to that, should a teacher drop that from his teaching?

    Which foreign language should schools teach? Should that be subject to parental referendum? And the list could go on.

    If the folks who are objecting to McAuliffe’s statement are to be taken literally, every teacher would have to submit his or her lesson plans in advance for parental approval (majority approval, it is assumed). Is that what you want?

    1. And that’s not what “parents” are complaining about. I will use the language of Leftists to explain. There are “community” standards. Despite the best efforts of the Left to eradicate Christianity, most parents, even the atheists and not especially religious, want society to reinforce the Western Civ Judeo-Christian norms which produced our society. So they object to explicit efforts to destroy it. That is the fight going on. McAwful screwed up… it’s like Obama with “you didn’t build that” or Joe the Plumber…
      The mask slipped. And no amount of your hypothetical questions can put the toothpaste back in the tube. The failure of the experts and their self-induced credibility-botomy hasn’t helped. For decades, respect and presumed expertise has been given. Instead, we see our elites for what they are – the emperor has no clothes. So respect must be earned. If a School Board can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen…(Didn’t a Democrat say that?)

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        First of all (and this getting off the main subject), I don’t agree that the Left is trying to “eradicate” Christianity. Furthermore, I would argue that the Left wants to reinforce the Western Civ norms that produced our society as much as anyone else does. Those norms include equality of humans, for example, and individual rights. Finally, if the parents of a community can’t stand a school board, vote the rascals out! The right to choose one’s representatives in the government is another one of those Western Civ norms that the Left is passionate about.

        1. You don’t eradicate racism by engaging in racism. You don’t reinforce equality under the law by enforcing the law unequally. You don’t show tolerance by shutting up people with whom you disagree. You don’t show inclusion by the social mob excluding people who do not adopt modern orthodoxy. The Left is attacking orthodox Christianity. Is it outside of the bounds of decent civilization to believe homosexuality is not a social good? That abortion is a grave moral wrong? That homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion should not be encouraged? Or is the only sin the Left can acknowledge is being a Trump voter? Or unvaccinated? Or a white beneficiary of systemic racism and part of the problem by denying it?
          Parents have awakened to the pollution their kids are being taught. If the Left really cared about the “little man,” it would endorse school choice and accountability for teachers and demand achievement for all the money. But all the Left cares about is power and mouthing platitudes. Black Lives Matter (except for every Hellhole Dem controlled city where the school systems suck and black on black violence is rampant, with a huge assist from AFDC and paying little girls to have babies while absolving the biological fathers from responsibility…but I’m a closed-minded, knuckle dragging bigot).

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            “Is it outside of the bounds of decent civilization to believe homosexuality is not a social good?”

            Yes, it actually is.

          2. Wow. I’m shocked we disagree. How about this – is it loving to give someone morbidly obese a box of donuts? An alcoholic a half-gallon? So, if you believe someone is hurting himself by his behavior, is it OK to express that, or is that too dangerous for you to tolerate that dissent?

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            No, it is not ok to express your delusions about homosexuality to the detriment of another. It is incredibly offensive and harmful.

          4. As harmful as approving of something destructive to society? I beg to differ. Hey, where does homosexuality fit in the natural selection/survival of the fittest Darwinian worldview? Are you a science denier? Or is Psalm 14:1 applicable here?

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            You really don’t understand natural selection, do you…? Look if you want to be a total jackass to people you supposedly care about, it’s your prerogative. I will tell you this fact, however, you are doing irreparable harm in the process. Finally, your underlying beliefs are severely flawed to boot.

          6. Thank you that substantive response. I now see the light and convert to a Useful Idiot, renouncing all my “hateful” and ignorant beliefs. I now belief a person with XX chromosomes is a man if (s)he says (s)he is and a person with XY chromosomes can get pregnant and needs menstrual supplies if he says he is a she.
            Glad to now be part of the reality based, non-science denying community.

          7. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            While transgender and homosexuality are two different things, both are similar in that unless someone asks for your personal opinion regarding their sexual orientation or gender identity, you need to keep it to yourself.

          8. Again, substantive. I think you mean Shut Up Prole! Accept my non-science as science you knuckle dragging deplorable!

        2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          “If the parents of a community can’t stand a school board, vote the rascals out!”

          Or petition the school board for a redress of grievances. That pesky Constitution.

          If a Virginia administration wants to violate Code of Virginia § 1-240.1, should they not repeal it first?

        3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          “If the parents of a community can’t stand a school board, vote the rascals out!”

          Or petition the school board for a redress of grievances. That pesky Constitution.

          If a Virginia administration wants to violate Code of Virginia § 1-240.1, should they not repeal it first?

      2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
        Kathleen Smith

        Agree. It slipped out, and, may very well be truth telling.

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Good point Mr. Dick. Prepare for the overcorrection. It seems to work that way these days.

    3. FluxAmbassador Avatar

      Right. The second a majority of parents started clamoring for actual Critical Race Theory to be taught in schools the people going on about this would backpedal fast enough to qualify for the Tour de France.

    4. Parents-and older students- should have a say if there’s a choice in languages to be taught because it can affect their future education or work.

      Nobody’s talking about not teaching actual history, but they do object to historically inaccurate ideology.

      They are talking about ethics and morality in their children’s education. Yes, parents should know what’s on a reading list and have the opportunity to read assigned books. There are still people (including parents) who object to profanity, excessive violence or graphic descriptions of sexual behavior or adult/child sexual activity in their children’s reading, What’s appropriate for 16-18 year-olds may not be appropriate for 12-14’s.

      Transgender issues are not appropriate material in kindergarten or pre-school, a la Gonzo to Gonzo-rella in Muppet Babies.

      And the two ALA award winners that started this line of discussion, Evison’s Lawn Boy, and Gender Queer recommended for 12-18 year-olds, are not suitable for younger teens to many people, including me.

      Parents are going to the school boards who should be exercising supervision over all teachers in their districts through their superintendents. The curricula come down from the state department of education to them first.

      And none of this touches on the anti-racism, anti-white, oppressor/oppressed ideology.

      There are great examples of people, White and Black, who stood up for freedom and liberty for all. Celebrate and share their stories. Not those of people who riot and steal from stores and commit arson during “protests.” Black separatism is not going to heal the wrongs of the past. People living and working together with equal opportunity, not equal outcomes, is what I want. Provide tutoring to all children who are not up to grade level. Don’t lower the standards instead.

      Respect and appreciation of those of different ancestry and backgrounds who worked side by side to make this a great county is what I want, and I dare say, what the parents you object to want.

    5. Kathleen Smith Avatar
      Kathleen Smith

      It was an incredibly unwoke statement. Follow what kids are reading in high school. I dare say a Muslim parent would not want their teen reading about homosexuality, bisexuality, or even macabre stories visiting the walking dead. Parents should be able to opt out.

  4. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    This is the best comment discussion, pro and con, that I have seen in these pages for awhile.

  5. McAuliffe is expressing a view about public administration consistent with the views of President Woodrow Wilson and other (but not all) early Progressives: Specifically, their belief that there was a need to: (a) defer to the expertise of administrators; (b) insulate them from accountability to the political process; and (c) trust that their administrative expertise would be exercised “impartially” in the public interest. Underlying the “enlightened” paternalism of such Progressives was the notion that “expert” government administrators would do a better job of making decisions and taking actions in the public interest than the American people could through the political process. See, e.g., Ronald J. Pestritto, America Transformed: The Rise and Legacy of American Progressivism (Encounter Books, 2021).

    As Pestritto’s book points out, the notion of insulating government administrators from ultimate political accountability is predicated on a rejection of the traditional separation of powers set forth in the U.S. Constitution, and the idea that even government “experts” are accountable to the American people about deciding what is or is not “in the public interest.”

    Modern Democrats (like McAuliffe) and progressives seem to think that they need to appeal to the American people for support at election time, but once elected, believe they and their appointees have a sweeping “mandate” to decide what is “in the public interest” and are not answerable to the American people until the next election.

    Why do Democrats and progressives think they have a monopoly on knowing what is “in the public interest”?

  6. As I observed in a recent post, schools are engaged in massive mission creep — they are assuming responsibility for the mental health of students. Intrinsic to that mission is determining which behaviors and attitudes are healthy, and which are unhealthy. That means defining and enforcing social norms, even when parents don’t agree with them. (See Eric Half a Troll’s comment in this thread.) It is not a big step to assert that the state, not you as a parent, is sovereign when it comes to making key decisions about your child’s upbringing.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock


  7. if parents decide what’s taught in schools, then every class becomes a battle ground in the culture wars

    1. Every class is already a battleground.

    2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
      Kathleen Smith

      The point is: The curricula can be developed by the school board or state, but as a parent, I should have the choice of opting my child out of certain content I don’t want taught. It is the ability to opt out that makes it moral and democratic, not cancelled for all. Eric and Publius disagree. This is what makes America – America.

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