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The Return of COVID Authoritarianism. Just Say No!

Children, who are COVID-19’s lowest risk population, are once again being forced to make enormous sacrifices even after the end of the pandemic. 

Shutdowns, mask, and vaccine mandates are again being pushed in schools and by their powerful allies.

A Montgomery County, Maryland elementary school is mandating masks for third-graders, and Kinterbish Junior High School in Alabama reintroduced masking.

In higher education, Dillard University in New Orleans brought masks back. Rutgers University and Georgetown University have also mandated masks and over 80 colleges and universities are still mandating vaccines. At the University of Michigan, students who test positive for COVID-19 must leave campus, or isolate themselves, much to their confusion.

And it’s not just masks. School districts in Texas and Kentucky have shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks. School closures are happening in other areas, citing extreme heat and teacher strikes.

Teachers unions are flexing, at students’ expense.

Teachers unions are too eager to close schools, demand masks, and keep parents quiet and fearful. Those unions have powerful partners willing to push the message that COVID is back.

  • Former White House official Dr. Anthony Fauci is back in the media, saying “there’s no doubt that masks work,” and urging people to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance. We now know that masks don’t work, from the most comprehensive analysis of studies on mask efficacy conducted by Oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson.
  • Teachers unions influenced the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration and urged the Department of Justice to investigate parents who challenged school closings and prolonged masking. 
  • When President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten was criticized for shutting down schools, President Joe Biden personally called her, saying, “I am not abandoning you on schools. I want you to know that.” 
  • Teachers unions demanded and got $200 billion from taxpayers – which to date has not been spent!

These actions have had disastrous effects on our children. Our children are paying the price with the loss of two decades of learning, mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and according to the CDC, an increase in developmental disabilities in children due to prolonged masking.

“We know children are largely safe from COVID,” said IWF’s Education Freedom Center Director Ginny Gentles on Fox News. “This is always a low risk population and masking only harms children, particularly children with special needs. This desire to do something and the something being masking has to stop.”

Citing the now famous line, “The child is not a mere creature of the state,” from the 1925 Supreme Court decision in Pierce v. the Society of Sisters, Gentles continued:

“We have known for a long time that parents have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. But somehow school districts have forgotten this and want to hide information from parents. And that’s why it’s important to stand up to them.”

Mandatory masking in schools is unscientific, unfair to kids, and purely political. It is our right as parents to decide what is best for our children, including sending them to school without masks. 

Is your school requesting masks? 

Take action today and push back on mask mandates at your school. This template letter provides a starting point for you to express your concerns with school officials.

Is your local newspaper pushing powerful union-crafted messages? Tell everyone! Here are resources on masking, closures and parents rights to help you write a letter to the editor. How To: Write a Letter to the Editor

Learn more about masking:

Learn more about the effects of school closures:

Learn more about how to take control of your child’s education: 

Protect Student Safety and Privacy in Virginia

In July 2023, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration updated Virginia’s model policies. The updated guidance is a victory for parental rights as well as for the safety and well-being of all students in public schools.

Changes to the model policies include:

  • School officials are not to keep secrets from parents regarding their children’s chosen gender identity.
  • Bathroom and locker room use is to be based on biological sex, rather than chosen gender.
  • Students are to compete in school sports based on their biological sex, rather than their chosen gender.

While the revisions to Virginia’s model policies are commonsensical for most of us, fringe transgender activists, and now the Department of Justice, are trying to intervene and roadblock these important changes.

Let’s lift our voices to encourage Virginia’s public schools to adopt policies consistent with the new guidance.

Take action today by telling your Virginia public school district’s superintendent that you support safety and fairness in public education and want parents involved in their children’s lives.

Tell Congress to Support Parents Rights

Parents matter! They are important in every aspect of a child’s life. Yet today, government-run schools are determined to disrupt the parent-child relationship and create barriers so that parents are left in the dark about what their children are exposed to in the classroom.

That doesn’t sit well with parents so it’s time to send these government officials a message: Parents have rights!

The Parents Bill of Rights Act (H.R. 5) was just introduced to protect parental involvement in all federally-funded K-12 schools. The bill confirms that parents should have the right to: 

  • Review their school’s curriculum, reading materials, and state academic standards.
  • Lawfully engage with their local school board and educators.
  • See a school’s budget and spending, including detailed information about revenues and expenditures.
  • Protect their child’s privacy.
  • Keep their child safe and be updated on any violent activity at school.

The bill is moving swiftly through the legislative process. Your voice matters in this conversation and legislators need to hear from parents now.  

Tell your legislators to support Parents’ Rights!

More resources:

Support Education Freedom in Florida

Florida parents, help is on the way in the form of an education policy that will expand the state’s education options and empower parents.  

The Florida House has introduced H.B. 1, which will expand access to K-12 education savings accounts (ESA) in Florida.  Almost 70,000 Florida students with disabilities are already benefiting from ESAs through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program for Unique Abilities. It’s time to expand the opportunity to more families and students.

H.B. 1 transforms the existing Family Empowerment Scholarship Program and Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program into ESAs and lifts the programs’ existing income caps. ESA programs take the education funding allocated to each child and deposit it into an education savings account for that child. Parents can direct the funds for eligible education expenses, including tuition, tutoring, textbooks, and therapies. 

More than three-quarters (79%) of Florida parents surveyed support the concept of K-12 ESAs.  It’s no wonder so many parents want this for their child. When we empower families with educational options, we best serve the unique talents, strengths, and interests of children. When students thrive in the educational system that best fits them, they go on to do amazing things. 

The bill is moving swiftly through the legislative process. If passed, this means that families can apply for accounts worth approximately $8,000 per child for each child (students with disabilities receive additional funding). The program will phase in over time, capping the number of participating families who homeschool to 20,000 in 2023-24 and increase by 40,000 students in every subsequent school year. Public school and rising kindergarten students who are not already enrolled in a private school or homeschool would be eligible to leave the public school system and access ESAs.

Your voice matters in this conversation and legislators need to hear from parents now.  

About a dozen states already have education savings account programs in place and state legislatures around the nation are actively considering numerous education savings accounts bills. It’s time for Florida to expand the state’s existing education savings account program so that more families can benefit from education freedom.

Tell your Florida state legislators to support education savings accounts and HB 1.

More resources: