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How To: Navigate Your Child’s Education

Recently, I was asked by my alma mater, Regent University, to provide guidance for parents as they navigate their child’s academic journey. Here is wh...

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In 60 Seconds: New Title IX Regulations

The Biden administration has issued an administrative rule that unlawfully alters Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education. The Bide...

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Is Glenn Youngkin’s ‘Parents Matter’ Slogan Just A Politically Convenient Phrase?

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora is a contributor for the Washington Examiner, a mother in Fairfax County, Virginia, an author, and the Fairfax chapter leader of the Independent Women’s Network. Originally appeared in The Federalist.

“Parents matter” is a catchy phrase that seems to have gotten Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., elected in a tight race. Those who voted for Youngkin believe parents do matter. But has his tenure in office made it a reality so far?

On April 24, 2024, I reached out to Lisa Coons, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction (appointed by Youngkin), regarding President Joe Biden’s absurd rewrite of Title IX. I asked Coons to join South Carolina’s Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver and Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley in rejecting the unfair and arguably unconstitutional Title IX rules recently released by the U.S. Department of Education.

In my email, I explained the problems with Biden’s revision of Title IX — that conflating biological sex and gender has troubling consequences, particularly for children. Our daughters deserve private bathrooms and changing facilities. Women’s sports must be female-only for the sake of fairness. Federally mandating that our children use a person’s preferred pronouns is compelled speech and a violation of the First Amendment. And students in college who are accused of sexual assault deserve the right to due process.

On April 30, Attorney General Jason Miyares issued a press release indicating that Virginia would be joining “a six-state coalition in suing the federal Department of Education (DOE) to challenge its dangerous overhaul of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act.”

Although I am thankful that Miyares is rightfully joining the multi-state lawsuit, I remain confused about the administration’s general lack of response to concerned parents. As of now, neither Coons, nor anyone from her office, has responded to my email. (As of publication, the Virginia Department of Education has not responded to a request for comment from The Federalist.)

Despite the silver lining in Miyares announcing action against the unjust revision of Title IX in his press release, this is not the first time parents have been otherwise ignored by the “parents matter” administration.

Symbolic Gestures from ‘Day One’

From “Day One,” Youngkin emphasized the importance of parental say in education matters. He introduced Executive Order One, which prohibited the teaching of divisive concepts in public schools. But he did not implement it in a way that made much difference.

There was an email address, for example, intended to collect information regarding public schools’ lessons on divisive concepts, such as critical race theory. I received no response to my concerns sent to that email address and, to my knowledge, neither did anyone else who submitted emails to that address.

I also wrote about divisive concepts taught to our children in Fairfax County public schools and questioned if Youngkin’s administration would act, to no avail. The Virginia governor’s executive order against divisive concepts in public education was essentially a symbolic gesture that lacked sufficient implementation mechanisms.

In Executive Order Two, the Youngkin administration said parents had the right to decide if their children wore masks to public schools. After the executive order was supposed to be in effect, my three sons — then in third, fifth, and seventh grades — went to school maskless with my written permission. Now, they have a cumulative 39 days of suspensions to show for their so-called maskless freedoms.

When I reached out to Youngkin’s administration for help, I was met with sympathy, but not action. Despite subsequent appeal to the school district, my sons’ suspensions remain on their records to this day — more than four years after lockdowns began.

Parental Rights in Excusing Children from Public Schools

In December 2023, I reached out to Coons, for the first time, about the absurd definition of “unexcused absence” in Virginia’s public schools. In the email, I explained that the Virginia Department of Education needs to change its definition, which currently grants the government power at the expense of parental rights.

It is not up to the school’s administration to determine whether it’s acceptable when a child misses school when the parent excuses him. If a parent excuses the child, whether it is for an illness or a sporting event, that should automatically make the absence excused. The reasons our children need to miss school are absolutely none of the school district’s business as long as we excuse the absence. Coons never responded.

I thought all of this might just be a Virginia issue — that perhaps with their silence, Youngkin and his appointees were simply pandering to a constituency less concerned about parental rights for future electoral gains. But last week, a father in a Republican district in Indiana, a Republican state, shared his experience with me. In his rural district, the school also has the right to decide whether his reason for excusing his children from school is acceptable to the school district’s administrators. The father was furious, just as we all should be.

The Indiana father’s experience made me wonder if we are the pawns of a panderverse. Political candidates throw us a “parents matter” bone in our busy lives. While we feel warm and fuzzy as we prepare meals and carpool our children to and from sporting events, some of us forget to follow up with what such a mantra might entail.

Parents are not pawns for political elites to take for granted. To our very core, we understand our importance in our children’s lives. What exactly are our politicians going to do to make sure that parents, and not the government, have the final say in raising our children? We want action, not just words.

IWV Applauds Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act

May 7, 2024

Dear Members of Congress, 

Independent Women’s Voice strongly supports the Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act sponsor...

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Biden’s Title IX Rule Guarantees Discrimination, Censorship, And The End Of Parents’ Rights

This piece was written by Ginny Gentles, director of IWF’s Education Freedom Center. Originally appeared in The Federalist.

In a call with reporters last week, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona disingenuously claimed that the Biden administration’s sweeping new Title IX rule makes “crystal clear that everyone can access schools that are safe, welcoming and that respect their rights.” Actually, the new Title IX regulations socially engineer every component of the educational environment to create dangerous and unwelcoming schools for girls and young women, while also undermining parents who affirm biological reality.

Despite the common misconception that Title IX simply protects women’s collegiate sports, it is a robust anti-discrimination mandate that prohibits federally funded educational institutions — early childhood, K-12, educational programs, and higher education — from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” Title IX, which was enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, [emphasis added] be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The Biden administration’s recently finalized 1,577-page regulations dramatically expand Title IX’s statutory protections for sex discrimination by redefining “sex” to include so-called gender identity, sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and sex characteristics. But, as the vast majority of Americans know, “sex” (sometimes incorrectly referred to as gender) is not the same as “gender identity.” As The Washington Post acknowledged last year, polling reveals, “Most Americans don’t believe it’s even possible to be a gender that differs from that assigned at birth.”

Ending Free Speech

Title IX was intended to ensure women are treated fairly and have educational opportunities, not to pave the way for males claiming an alternative “gender identity” to access women’s scholarships and spaces. It also wasn’t supposed to be used to curtail protected speech by punishing students and teachers for using biologically false pronouns.

That’s right: When Biden’s Title IX rule takes effect on Aug. 1, using the “wrong” (e.g., biologically accurate) pronouns will be considered “sex-based harassment” and a federal civil rights violation worthy of investigation and discipline.

Undermining Parents

On top of allowing males to self-identify into women’s spaces and opportunities, destabilizing educational environments, and curtailing free speech, the behemoth Title IX rule also undermines parents. Under the new Title IX regime, school districts likely will assume that policies that hide emotionally vulnerable children’s gender confusion from parents, already in place in thousands of schools around the country, are now federally required.

Under these parental-exclusion policies, when a child decides to embrace a new name, identity, and set of pronouns, school staff swiftly craft “gender support plans” that codify the child’s new identity and determine the bathrooms, locker rooms, and sleeping arrangements for overnight trips the child will use. The child determines if school staff should actively hide the new name and identity from the parents, uniting the entire school community against the parents as the school secretly shoves the child down a dangerous path of social and likely irreversible and harmful medical transition.

Although the administration’s Title IX rule commentary claims that “nothing in these final regulations prevents a recipient from disclosing information about a minor child to their parent who has the legal right to receive disclosures on behalf of their child,” the rule directly instructs schools to update their internal gender identity policies and points to examples of state and district policies that explicitly require schools to hide a child’s chosen identity from his or her parents.

Investigating ‘Sex-Based Harassment’

Under the new rule, if a middle school student feels that his teacher has not hidden his “gender fluid” identity sufficiently from his parents, the district could treat it as a Title IX violation. The school district’s Title IX coordinator would investigate to avoid facing a federal investigation or losing federal funding.

As WebMD states, “A person who is gender fluid may identify as male one day, female the next, both male and female, or neither.” So, that same middle school student’s pronouns will shift unceasingly (until he embraces a different gender identity or accepts biological reality), putting every student and teacher at risk of violating Title IX if they don’t use that day’s “correct” pronouns.

Alarmingly, the regulations state that “sex-based harassment” that occurs outside of school could be considered a Title IX violation if the behavior contributes to a hostile environment at school. The final rule responds to stakeholders’ concerns about administrative overreach by doubling down, stating that schools have an obligation to address a “hostile environment,” “even when some conduct alleged to be contributing to the hostile environment occurred outside the recipient’s education program or activity.”

So if a child claims she is unhappy that her parents are gently questioning why she suddenly considers herself to be a boy, a school could interpret the parents’ belief in biological reality as a Title IX violation. Although the regulations pay lip service to parental rights, the administration also instructs schools to coordinate with a child “and their parent, as appropriate” [emphasis added] on a case-by-case basis.

School districts’ Title IX coordinators are going to be extremely powerful people as they launch investigations and create and implement policies that ensure radical gender ideology is enforced at all levels of education and in students’ homes.

Parental Rights

Even though many children struggling with gender identity have special needs, the new rule throws federal laws that involve their parents out the window. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guarantees parents’ rights to inspect and review their children’s educational records, and the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) requires that parents be included in the decision-making process when schools determine how to address a child’s needs.

The Biden regime acknowledges these long-standing federal protections, but the Title IX rule specifically states that “requirements of Title IX override any conflicting FERPA provisions.” The Biden administration also claims that the new Title IX regulations overrule numerous state laws that protect parental rights, undermining the authority of state legislatures and parents.

Parents do not turn children over to federally controlled government schools and assume that the school will make decisions that affect their children’s emotional and physical health without parental input. As parents, we have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, care, and education of our children. We’re not going to let the Biden administration’s outrageous Title IX rule change that.

Independent Women’s Law Center is suing the Biden administration over Title IX.

How To: Meaningfully Support Law Enforcement

National Police Week is coming up on May 13, and ahead of the week, we wanted to share some ways you can support police officers as a member or chapte...

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