Recent California legislative actions reveal a troubling trend that raises questions about parental rights and the state’s role in education and child-rearing. Many bills targeting parents who disagree with the state’s political and ideological stances have either passed or are under consideration.
Among the most concerning is Assembly Bill 1078, which restricts school boards from banning certain materials. That act is part of a series of bills seemingly aimed at parents who don’t align with progressive gender ideologies.
Assembly Bill 1078, championed by Democrat Assembly member Corey Jackson, blocks school boards from refusing any textbook, material, or book in school libraries that contains controversial content. On X, formerly known as Twitter, Jackson claimed the bill ensures that students have access to materials that “accurately represent the rich cultural and racial diversity of our society.”
Why are you conflating certain books are inappropriate for children with banning books? “Bans on book bans” means that parents don’t have a say on inappropriate books being forced into school.
— Dr. Bash (@Doctorbash) September 8, 2023
This fails to consider the concern many parents have about age-appropriate materials. State Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R) pointed out that the issue is not about diversity but about “parents not wanting their kids to be exposed to books that are inappropriate for their age.”
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) lauded the bill’s passage, saying California is where “families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them.” But does this bill give families that freedom, or does it take it away, leaving the state as the ultimate arbiter?
Apart from education, another alarming development is California’s assault on parents who disagree with transgender ideologies. A package of legislative proposals aims to undermine the rights of these parents in various ways — from profiling parents as “anti-LGBT” to potentially hiding “gender-affirming counseling” from parents. One of these bills, AB-655, explicitly allows mental health professionals to exclude parents or guardians if they determine their involvement would be “inappropriate” without detailing the criteria for such a decision.
These legislative proposals use the noble guise of promoting “diversity” and “inclusion.” Still, they effectively strip parents of the right to raise their children according to their beliefs. State Sen. Scott Wilk (R) could only offer parents some sobering advice: “If you love your children, you need to flee California.”
While lawmakers argue that they’re standing against discrimination and for inclusion, these bills raise concerns about the sidelining of parental authority in favor of state-sanctioned ideologies. They place the government in a position to dictate personal and often sensitive aspects of child-rearing, from what they read to how they understand their identities. Where does this leave parents who may have valid concerns that differ from those of the state?
In a free country, parents — not government bureaucrats — should have the primary say in how to raise their children. These California bills appear to be less about true freedom and inclusion and more about consolidating state control at the expense of parental rights.