NBC News was hammered on Thursday for publishing an opinion piece that declared that parents aren’t qualified to make decisions about school curricula for their children.
The column, "Schools face parents who want to ban critical race theory — and don't get how teaching works," written by author Christina Wyman was swiftly roasted on social media.
"Parents and politicians across the country are interfering with the curricula that public schools use to teach students. State legislatures are passing laws to keep critical race theory out of schools, literary classics like Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ are banned for sexual content, and school libraries are coming under attack for containing books about gender. There are even parents who are trying to shield students from learning about mental health and suicide— as though helping children build emotional fortitude is a bad thing," Wyman wrote to kick off the piece.
"While the political climate and national involvement in school districts give the phenomenon a broader platform and have more serious ramifications, this behavior is nothing new. Parents have always tried to interfere with curricula, as I observed when teaching middle school in the mid-2000s," she continued. "Part of the problem is that parents think they have the right to control teaching and learning because their children are the ones being educated. But it actually (gasp!) doesn’t work that way."
Wyman then compared parents wanting to have a say in what their children learn to someone barging into an operating room during surgery on their child.
"Teaching, too, is a science. Unless they’re licensed and certified, parents aren’t qualified to make decisions about curricula. In fact, parental interference can actually hinder student advancement," Wyman wrote. "An educator’s primary goal is to teach students to think. Parents who attempt to influence curricula with their personal opinions, ideologies and biases hinder that goal."
Wyman, who spent some time discussing her own schooling and Ph.D. in curriculum, painted parents as underqualified to chime in unless they have achieved the same level of education that is required of most teachers.
"Which is why the ceaseless effort of parents and politicians to shape curricula by targeting book selection, the type of history taught in classrooms and even specific terms used in classrooms should be ignored. These distractions are nothing more than theater, and school boards and administrators should be protecting their teachers — and students — from it rather than bowing to it," she wrote. "I can say with authority that our nation’s children are in good, educated and capable hands — no matter what some parents and politicians appear determined to believe."
The NBC News piece said it’s OK for parents to object if their child is subjected to language such as the N-word.
"But short of that, parents, community members and politicians who aren’t qualified to teach should keep their noses out of school curricula," Wyman wrote.
Many took to Twitter with feedback for NBC: