(The Center Square) – Education officials are reacting to concerns over political activism, rather than education, being in the classroom.
With the new school year in full swing for most of the state, national and state education officials made visits to Illinois schools.
Before a visit to Fairfield Elementary in Springfield featuring Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Illinois U.S. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, released a statement saying Pritzker and Cardona oppose parental rights “and believe young children should be indoctrinated with radical ‘gender ideology’ politics in the classroom behind their parents’ backs.”
“Parents should be in charge of their child’s education, not radical politicians like Pritzker and Cardona who believe teachers should be discussing chemical castration and gender reassignment with your child,” Miller said.
Shannon Adcock, founder of the parents’ rights group Awake Illinois, said educators must focus on education.
“I would hope they would start talking about literacy, about proficiency and how they’re actually going to focus on academic outcomes in the classroom, not political activism, not waging continued war on parental rights,” Adcock told The Center Square.
Pritzker said despite state data showing some areas with low proficiencies in math and reading, the state is educating children.
“We always want to do better. We want our kids to do better, and in fact we’ve invested in that in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said as he praised federal taxpayer resources for public education.
On the issue of gender ideology, Miller said Pritzker and Cardona have led the effort to force the issue onto families.
“Pritzker and Cardona have led the effort to violate Title IX by forcing our daughters to compete against men in sports, and they want to force schools to allow men into girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms,” Miller said.
Adcock echoed that and said there is a “war on biological truth.”
“Boys invading girls’ spaces, private spaces, this is a huge concern going into the fall and we will certain going to be keeping an eye on anything the Biden administration and the secretary of education is going to do regarding Title IX,” Adcock said.
Title IX is the national education policy that prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity getting federal tax resources.
Cardona said such debates are divisive.
“They just want to disrupt what is happening,” Cardona said. “When I talk to parents, when I talk to educators and when I talk to students, they’re not thinking about what she’s thinking about. They’re thinking about what opportunities they have.”
Miller also asked in her news release if the governor is going to require what she said are “illegal COVID mask mandates.” Pritzker previously denied that.
Later Wednesday evening, Cardona and the Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Sanders visited a school in Peoria.