The Biden education department announced Thursday it was awarding more than $7 million in competitive grants to eight organizations that have worked to achieve what the department calls “the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to enhance and increase parent and family engagement in local education.”
Grants from the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program, the announcement states, “provide financial support to organizations that offer technical assistance and training to state educational agencies and school districts that effectively engage families over policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student development and academic achievement.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to elevating parent voices in education,” the department insists.
“The voices of parents and families have never been more critical to the success of our education system,” said Biden Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement, adding:
Parents are our children’s first and most influential teachers. We have an enduring commitment to parent and family engagement in all our work at the U.S. Department of Education. These new grantees exemplify the efforts we want to see across the country to improve our parent and family engagement.
“It is laughable for this Administration to claim it ‘remains committed to elevating parent voices in education’ after literally colluding with the teachers’ unions and CDC to keep schools closed and children masked and then smearing parents who objected to that at public meetings,” responded Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education (PDE), in an email comment to The Star News Network.
Among the eight organizations receiving the federal grants are Save the Children, which touts climate change ideology as a primary focus of its efforts and corporate support that includes Disney, Google, Facebook, Pfizer, Amazon, and Target.
Save the Children is the recipient of a $1 million grant for the Arkansas Statewide Family Engagement Center.
Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortia (MAEC), another federal grantee, is receiving nearly $813,000 for a “Consortium for Engaging Families Across Maine.”
MAEC released a statement in late-June condemning the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that returned issues of abortion to the states, calling it “inhumane”:
For the past 49 years, Roe has been critical in advancing gender equity in educational, economic, and political spheres. Last week’s ruling reduces choices for childbearing people, removes individual agency, and limits access to safe health care, with differentiated impact on folks depending on their state, economic situation, race, and ethnicity.
“MAEC uses the term ‘childbearing people’ to recognize non-binary and transgender people, who also birth children,” the organization states.
In support of the Biden administration’s proposed change to Title IX, which would interpret sex discrimination to include “gender identity,” MAEC said, “Our work with schools, districts, and state education agencies is grounded in that call to action.”
“We work so that every student fully lives within their rights to be treated humanely and with respect in and out of school, regardless of their gender identity,” the organization added. “Now is the time to strengthen our communities, coalitions, and civic engagement in order to protect the rights of childbearing people and LGBTQIA+ communities, especially for people who are poor, low-income, and BIPOC.”
“Children have experienced generational learning loss during the pandemic and every week we hear stories of unspent and misspent resources in schools and districts across the nation,” Sanzi asserted. “Allocating more resources to education by lining the pockets of consultants like the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium who push equity audits, critical race theory and gender ideology, hardly elevates the voices of parents.”
The announcement of the federal awards “to elevate parent voices” comes following a year of battles the Biden administration, particularly the education department and Department of Justice (DOJ), has chosen to wage against parents who have been turning out to voice their concerns at local school board meetings.
A highly inflammatory letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) – one with which emails obtained by PDE indicated Cardona had been involved – likened parents protesting Critical Race Theory, radical gender ideology, and COVID-related mandates to “domestic terrorists.”
"Education Secretary Miguel Cardona solicited the much-criticized letter from the National School Boards Association that compared protesting parents to domestic terrorists, according to an email exchange…obtained by Parents Defending Education" https://t.co/otSZLQn43n
— Parents Defending Education (@DefendingEd) January 11, 2022
The DOJ subsequently based its own memo on mobilizing the FBI against vocal parents, to support local government school education officials, on the NSBA letter, but later denied it had done so.
"The American people deserve transparency from the various players in the Biden Administration – the White House, Department of Education, and Department of Justice – about who was involved and why, and those individuals must be held accountable for their actions." @nickineily https://t.co/KCGup66T14
— Parents Defending Education (@DefendingEd) September 15, 2022
In late-March, House Republicans revealed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had colluded with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to create guidance on the issue of whether government schools should remain closed throughout the COVID pandemic.
A CDC official’s testimony confirmed the nation’s top health agency worked with teachers’ unions at an “unprecedented” level to keep schools closed, despite the CDC’s earlier claims that its coordination with the unions was routine.
🚨 Just exposed a CDC official’s testimony confirming CDC coordinated with unions at unprecedented levels to keep kids out of school.
We now know Biden's political leadership at CDC let unions impose line-by-line edits.
It was never about "The Science." https://t.co/Qufe24Uy1m
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 30, 2022
In July, PDE joined with America First Legal and Fight for Schools and Families in a federal lawsuit against the Biden education department and Cardona “for their unlawful creation of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council.”
PDE noted in its press statement about the lawsuit:
The Council, formed in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), is a partisan, hand-selected committee designed to mask the Biden Administration’s devastatingly anti-child and anti-family actions, including the NSBA scandal and the CDC’s collusion with teachers’ unions to keep public schools closed.
The members of the Council chosen by the Biden administration include:
- Eleven organizations whose highest-ranking executive donated to President Biden and other Democratic lawmakers.
- The National Parents Union, whose president defended Attorney General Garland’s DOJ memo on school boards.
- The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) which endorsed Secretary Cardona.
- The National Action Network, an organization run by Al Sharpton that promises “No Justice No Peace” and that hosted President Biden at its annual convention.
“Touting their unlawful parents council as a way to ‘facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools and parents, families and caregivers’ is also a cruel joke,” Sanzi said. “They and their union allies have worked tirelessly and unapologetically to withhold curriculum from parents and to hide the new names, pronouns, and gender transitions of students from their parents.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “School Board Meeting” by KOMUnews. CC BY 2.0.