Last week I was watching the PBS NewsHour when Brooks and Capehart came on, the lead up was that interesting but the first question got my attention.
Jonathan, I want to start with you and pick up where Lisa's report left off, this whole issue of parental rights. It has come to mean so much.
My ears perked up.
Those that follow my blog know that I say that “parental rights” are a Republican code word for discrimination.
Well, to me, when I hear parental rights, I keep thinking, what happened to the PTA, parent-teachers associations? Why, all of a sudden, is this an issue?
And I think it's an issue, given who they're targeting, because they need a foil. The far right needs a foil. That's not to say that parents don't have concerns about what their kids are learning in classrooms. It just seems like, from Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida, to Governor Huckabee in Arkansas, to the Republican-led House of Representatives, it seems like they have a problem specifically with trans kids.
And what I have a problem with is that the party of life, the party of respect for family and individual freedom has no problem putting a target on the backs of trans kids and their families. And so, when I hear parental rights, I think parental rights for whom?
“... the party of life, the party of respect for family and individual freedom has no problem putting a target on the backs of trans kids and their families. And so, when I hear parental rights, I think parental rights for whom?”
Not only us, but women rights to chose what they do with their bodies. Censoring Black history and the whole list of the laws that deny us proper healthcare.
Then that discuss the anti-trans laws.
And, Jonathan, I want to turn to you on this, because that's a striking number, first of all, when you think of the sheer volume of children who are impacted by that. But I'm wondering why you think this particular issue resonates so deeply right now.
Because it makes people feel uncomfortable. Let's just be perfectly frank about it. It makes people uncomfortable.
But just because you're uncomfortable doesn't mean that you then target what makes you uncomfortable. And by target, you're targeting kids. You're targeting the families of those kids, making it impossible for them to get health care in their own home state, making it almost impossible for them to go out of state, criminalizing, in some cases, going out of state to get care.
All these kids and their families want are for these trans kids to be able to go to school like everyone else, learn like everyone else, and be left alone like everyone else, if possible, and to be able to learn in a classroom environment where there's neither a target on their back or they're not being denied the full history, the full curriculum that they're supposed to be taught.
The problem I have with what's been happening in the states, and particularly with this congressional bill, is that the language is so vague. In that report, the person said, it doesn't specify names of books and things. Well, no, it leaves it up to the discretion of whoever the person is complaining.
And so I think what needs to happen is that people need to — those really concerned parents, not only do they need to keep rising up. They need allies to rise up with them to add to their numbers, because there are more people who care about those children and care about their education than the rabble-rousing parents who are putting the targets on their backs.
Yes, I mean, it's insane that we're having the education debate we're having right now.
And so if you look at what happened, if you look at New York City schools, 41 percent of kids were chronically truant. If you look at what's happened across American schools over the last few years — we spent 20 years doing education reform, trying to lift scores. All those gains were erased through COVID and over the last year or two.
That's going to alter the lives, the GDP of this country for decades. And so we're in the middle of an education, I don't want to say catastrophe, but a real setback in the way our kids are doing. And we're talking about this, the transgender stuff. Like, what?
But that's where Republicans are choosing to focus, right?
Right, exactly. Exactly right.
Then they go on to discuss politicians winning on this platform like the Virginia governor.
It was very heartening to here us discussed in a reasonable and thoughtful discussion.