Letters to the Editor: In defense of ‘parents first’ activism in public education

People at a school board meeting hold signs including "I Do Not Co-Parent With The Government."
Proponents and opponents of teaching critical race theory attend a school board meeting in Yorba Linda in 2021.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Yes, “parents first” is a wake-up call for education. As a founding member of one of those reviled parent organizations, I’m happy to make those calls, except we call it “kids first,” because we know what’s important here. (“‘Parents first’ conservatives mostly lost, but their school board bids should be a wake-up call,” editorial, Dec. 8)

“Ban the teaching of America’s history of racism”? Desperate hyperbole. We get the deplorable history of racism, so teach that. But stop blaming today’s kids for the sins of their fathers.

“Rein in government control over education”? Decades of government and union control have produced an obviously broken system. Mind if we fix it?


Despite being told the answer is “more money,” a decade of record funding increases has not resulted in improvement — except, of course, in pay for adults. In 2021, the median total compensation (including retirement and benefits) for a public school teacher in California reached about $126,000 per year, a record. This figure is compiled from the districts’ own pay records.

Government control is obviously benefiting the people in government, not our kids.

Todd Maddison, Oceanside

The writer is a founding member of the group Parent Assn. and research director of Transparent California.


To the editor: “Critical race theory” is not “America’s history of racism.” It is a radical view predicated on critical theory, which is in turn extracted from philosopher and social theorist Herbert Marcuse’s neo-Marxism.

Critical race theory is internally inconsistent nonsense that deserves a place in the U.S. school curriculum as nothing but an example of an intellectual dead end. Teaching it as an explanatory model of American culture is political indoctrination.

The “parents first” groups’ efforts to “rein in government control over education” do not go far enough. It is time for separation of school and state.

James E. Moore II, Los Angeles