Children do not belong to the government. But prominent figures in the Biden administration—including the president himself—seem to believe just the opposite.
Recent statements by President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona make it sound as if their goal is to treat children as property of the state. Whatever their intentions, Cardona and President Biden have displayed a stunning misunderstanding of parental rights. That should concern every parent.
Should the government be responsible for raising children?
In a shocking sentence from an April speech, President Biden asserted that “Our nation’s children are all our children.” But the president is gravely mistaken to suggest that children are products and property of the government. It is parents, not the government, who have the fundamental right and duty to care for their children and direct their upbringing and education.
Children are born into families—the basic unit of society—where parents exercise their right and duty to choose what is best for them. Spending each day with their children, parents are uniquely positioned to guide them through struggles and successes.
Parents have a weighty responsibility: they shape their children from birth to adulthood. With such a responsibility also comes a great joy and privilege in the form of the parent-child relationship. No one—and certainly not the government—can replace a child’s relationship with his or her parents.
Considering President Biden’s implication that the government should raise the nation’s children, parents must vigilantly guard their natural and constitutional right to direct their children’s upbringing and education.
Do teachers know children better than parents?
President Biden is not the only government official who has attacked parental rights. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona maintains that teachers can replace the role of parents. In May, he tweeted that “Teachers know what is best for their kids because they are with them every day. We must trust teachers.”
Teachers know what is best for their kids because they are with them every day.— Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) May 19, 2023
We must trust teachers.
This is incorrect for several reasons. First, teachers are with students for only part of each workday. Moreover, while there are many good teachers who desire to help their students thrive, not even the most caring teacher could know or be able to meet a child’s needs in the way his or her parents do.
Parents know their children from day one. They remember their child’s first breath, first steps, first words. Even if a teacher meets a student in kindergarten or elementary school, that teacher can never replace the parents’ role or influence throughout a child’s life. And with dozens of students in a classroom and new ones each academic year, teachers can never be as devoted to individual children as their parents will be.
Unlike Secretary Cardona, good teachers know that their role in students’ lives is secondary to that of parents. As ADF client and teacher Deb Figliola has explained, parents are a fundamental part of their kids’ lives. Not only are they with kids from the beginning; they also stay with them long after the teacher’s role is over. Like Deb aptly recognizes, children’s relationships with their parents are foundational to their development. Teachers cannot replace parents.
Certainly, teachers can have a positive impact on a child’s life, but no influence is as profound and enduring as that of the parents. Parents—above all others—do know what is best for their children. It is pro-children to support parental rights.
The government cannot replace parents in the parent-child relationship
Despite statements from our own leaders, it is plainly false to suggest that children belong to the government. Children are given to parents, the people who know them best. Accordingly, parents, not the government, have the right and responsibility to raise and care for their children. But with parental rights coming under increased threat across the country, we must vigilantly guard the fundamental right of mothers and fathers. Their children’s well-being depends on it.