To the Editor:
If the natural, nurturing relationship between parent and child breaks down, no force on earth can take its place. Surely government can’t, as the history of our own Department of Children and Families demonstrates. The department has been scandalously bad, though not notably worse than similar agencies in other states. Incompetence isn’t the primary problem: the fact is, children can’t successfully be raised by a bureaucracy.
Since the family is irreplaceable, government should do nothing that weakens that bond. Yet on all sides, an entrenched and unelected bureaucracy undermines parental authority and the traditional family structure. This bond between parents and their children extends necessarily from the home to their school as a critical part of the successful completion of their child’s education.
Rich as we are in well-established communities, the principle of local control has made town schools a priority and a point of pride in our state. Connecticut’s remarkable system of parochial schools—now sadly diminished—was a vivid example of quality education affordably provided, thanks to parental involvement and a culture committed to securing opportunity for its young people.
But the modern education establishment, intoxicated by its assumed expertise, has begun to see parents as a barrier, not a resource. Academic elitists believe they know what’s best for our children, and they are looking to push parents out of the way in order to impose their vision.
Parents expect schools to provide a solid grounding in basic skills and an environment which encourages socialization and good behavior. The progressive agenda for education focuses instead on sexual and racial identity. The woke education establishment and its defenders have tried to deny what they’re doing and to denigrate their critics. Now they are embracing the absurd position that educational decisions are too important to be made by parents.
The upcoming symposium at the University of Connecticut Law School entitled “Are Parental Rights Always in the Best Interest of Children?” shows how dramatically the vision of the parent-child relationship has changed.
The description of the symposium states that it “will explore the complex issues surrounding the role of parental rights in advancing progressive goals while at the same time examine how parental rights are being used to undermine racial, gender, and LGBTQ equality. These conflicts have come to a head recently in the areas of education, gender-affirming care, and family regulation.”
The premise is clear: Parents are an obstacle to “advancing progressive goals.”
What’s the solution?
According to the flyer announcing the symposium, “The discussion will also include how children’s interests can and should be represented, and whether that is best accomplished through their parents.”
Connecticut parents should be deeply concerned when our state-funded law school sponsors a forum questioning their right to oversee the health, education, and general upbringing of their children.
The relationship between parent and child is universal and profound. The instinct to care for the young is innate and remains persistent across generations; society is rooted in it and flows from it. Parenting is a challenge too large and complex for anyone to perform perfectly; fortunately, the God-given emotion of love inspires us to give our all for our children.
Government and the legal system should reinforce the irreplaceable bond between parent and child. The progressive desire to find an alternative to parenthood shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role of parents in the successful upbringing of children to adulthood. Those of us with common sense must stand firmly for parental rights.
A retired career naval officer and state representative, in 2022 France was the Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd District