EFA President on Fox & Friends discussing parental rights groups accused of extremism by Southern Poverty Law Center
Parental rights groups have been compared to Neo-Nazis and anti-government organizations in a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The report’s findings were discussed by Sloan Rachmuth founder of Education First Alliance, co-founder of Army of Parents Alicia Brand, and president of No Left Turn in Education Dr. Elena Fishbein in a Fox & Friends interview. Dr. Fishbein’s response to the report was that it was no surprise to her, given the radical, left-wing bent of SPLC. She also believes that their language is a powerful tool. Sloan Rachmuth agreed and suggested that both the FBI and other agencies have been taking cues from the SPLC and targeting people on these lists. She also suggested that many of these targets are parents who attend school board meetings as well as people of faith. Alicia Brand argued that people like her and her group were ‘over the target’ of the SPLC's efforts. This indicates that the SPLC wants to silence anyone who stands in their way and protect their financial interests. They do this by selling teaching modules and curricula to schools.
All three women interviewed are Jewish mothers and have all received life threats since being placed on the SPLC’s hate list. Parental rights groups are not new, but they have seen increased visibility in recent years for various reasons. The main reason for this is parents' desire to be more involved in their children’s education. In addition, they want to have the right to opt out of certain curricula.
Other parents seek to ensure that their children are taught in accordance with their own values and religious beliefs. These groups have faced criticism from those who feel they promote a narrow agenda, but the SPLC’s recent report extends much further. By equating them with Neo-Nazis and other extremist groups, SPLC is shutting down debate and silencing those who disagree with their views. This is not the first time that SPLC has come under fire for its tactics.
Many believe that their actions are now blurring the lines between what constitutes legitimate criticism and what constitutes harassment. The ongoing debate around the role of these groups in shaping educational policy will continue. However, it is clear that the SPLC’s recent report has sparked controversy and debate. Many believe that the organization is overreaching in its attempts to classify parental rights advocates as extremists.
The fallout from this report and the ongoing discussion about the role of these groups in society will undoubtedly continue for years to come. However, it is important that the discussion be grounded in facts and reasoned arguments, rather than name-calling and ad hominem attacks.
Only then can we have a constructive discussion about the role of parental rights groups in shaping our educational policies.