With sensitivities surrounding education and the purported indoctrination of children reaching a fever pitch, President Joe Biden made a statement about kids and classrooms Wednesday that quickly garnered rebuke.
“You’ve heard me say it many times about our children, but it’s true: They’re all our children. And the reason you’re the teachers of the year is because you recognize that,” Biden told educators during the 2022 Teacher of the Year Ceremony. “They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re like yours, when they’re in the classroom.”
Watch the president’s remarks:
Joe Biden: “They’re all our children .. They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re like yours when they’re in the classroom.” pic.twitter.com/ATNGGO594U— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) April 27, 2022
Some critics saw Biden’s comments as arguing that kids do not belong to their parents when they’re in classrooms.
One headline surrounding his remarks read, “Biden Claims School Children Don’t Belong to Parents ‘When They’re in the Classroom.'” Another added, “Biden Says Students Are ‘All Our Children’ When They’re in the Classroom and People are Horrified.”
People — including some teachers — also reacted to Biden’s comments on social media, sharing their dismay and frustration.
“My children do not belong to the state or the school,” Twitter user @wtony_tony wrote. “My children are mine and [it’s] not up for debate.”
And @WilliamBradyCoS added, “When I have students in my class, I work for BOTH my school AND parents. The students are not ‘mine.’ They are entrusted to me by PARENTS and that’s a serious, sacred responsibility and trust.”
Some defended Biden’s comments and explained he spoke about teachers’ responsibility to care for children in the classroom, and argued there was nothing wrong with his proclamation.
“He’s honoring top teachers — this is a perfectly reasonable thing to say in this context,” @PugsPushups wrote. “It’s sad how many of y’all see this as ‘evil’ due to a made-up moral panic. It’s a completely innocuous statement.”
It should be noted Biden, at another point in the speech, credited his parents and family for his success in politics and life.
“I wonder how I got here. I got here because of my parents and my teachers,” he said. “My teachers.”
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Adverse reactions were likely also bolstered by additional comments Biden made during his speech, condemnations of efforts to curb sexual and racial conversations many parents and politicians deem inappropriate.
“There are too many politicians trying to score political points, trying to ban books, even math books,” Biden said. “Did you ever think when you’d be teaching, you’re going to be worried about book burnings and banning books all because it doesn’t fit somebody’s political agenda?”
He continued, “American teachers have dedicated their lives to teaching our children and lifting them up. We got to stop making them the target of the culture wars. That’s where this is going.”
Biden’s comments come as debate ramps up about the presence of sexual and racial subjects in public school classrooms. As Faithwire previously reported, H.B. 1467, a bill signed into law last month by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), is cracking down on such content.
The legislation, which goes into effect July 1, “requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials.” Parents can contest books and materials they deem inappropriate.
Controversy has also raged over H.B. 1557, known as the Parental Rights in Education Act. Critics have dubbed this legislation the “Don’t Say Gay bill,” despite the word “gay” being absent from the text.
The law, which also goes into effect July 1, bars educators from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation from pre-K through third grade.
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