When President Joe Biden spoke to a group of teachers last week, he revealed how Democrats view the relationship between schools, parents, and students. “[Students are] not someone else’s children, they’re like yours when they’re in the classroom,” he said.
Democrats and national teachers’ unions hold this backward belief that they, not parents, are the ultimate authority in children’s lives and their education.
FILE: Students wearing masks leave the New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) school in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York.
(AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)
I have the utmost respect for teachers and their commitment to students’ success – both my parents were educators – but President Biden couldn’t be more wrong on this issue. It’s this kind of government-knows-best thinking that led the federal government to create restrictive COVID policies in schools and to impose harsh mask mandates on toddlers without asking parents what they believed would be best for their children’s education or health. This kind of one-size-fits-all approach also neglects to take into consideration the local educators who know these kids far better than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
Naturally, parents are not pleased, and I don’t blame them. During the past year, parents have risen up across the country to have their voices heard at the local, state, and federal levels. This groundswell of organization and involvement from parents has become too large for Democrat politicians to ignore any longer, and it has begun to turn the tide against these oppressive mandates.
Now, in a major fight for parents’ rights in education, the U.S. Senate will have the opportunity as soon as Tuesday to take a big step toward repealing one of the worst ideas to come out of Washington in a long time: the Biden administration’s toddler mask mandate.
FILE – Students walk to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic at Washington Elementary School Jan. 12, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have announced that schoolchildren will no longer required to wear masks starting March 12, 2022. The governors of the three states announced the measure in a joint statement as part of new indoor mask policies that come as coronavirus case and hospitalization rates decline across the West Coast. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
While the courts have stepped in to block this rule in certain states, this requires a permanent solution – one that Congress can provide. I will be forcing a vote on my resolution to repeal the Biden administration’s requirement that children as young as two years old in the Head Start program must wear masks, even if they’re outside on the playground. Each senator will have to go on the record and decide whether they support this overreaching federal policy, which should have never been implemented in the first place.
Masking toddlers, especially on the playground, has never been grounded in science. In fact, even the World Health Organization advises against masking children under the age of five.
Masked students wait to go to their classroom during the first day of class at Stanford Elementary School in Garden Grove, CA on Monday, August 16, 2021. Students and teacher were required to wear masks in the classroom but not outside. (Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
((Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images))
There is plenty of data, however, demonstrating the harm that has been done to the children of America during this pandemic. Students have fallen behind important benchmarks and had their behavioral development hindered. Young children are struggling with speech development and social skills. Parents don’t need to see the data, though. Many of them have been experiencing this reality firsthand.
Children in our country have already given up too much because they were let down by the Democrats and teachers’ unions. Parents, not Joe Biden nor their kids’ teachers, get to make the decisions about their child’s education and health. When my resolution comes up for a vote, the choice couldn’t be clearer.
When our Founding Fathers designed our system of government, they created checks and balances between the separate branches. Congress has the authority to provide a check on this administration’s radical treatment of toddlers – and it will soon have the opportunity to do so as we vote on my resolution to repeal the Biden administration’s toddler mask mandate.
Republican John Thune represents South Dakota in the United States Senate and serves as the Senate Republican whip.