Friends & Followers:
Well, we can't say that it was fun, but it certainly was revealing. We just emerged--more energized and stronger than ever--from a period of unprecedented and dishonest attacks from two big local government powers--both the San Jose City Council and the Franklin-McKinley School District. We are proud to report that we beat back both efforts--the latest ploy to again censure Trustee Mark Cooper at the FMSD board meeting was voted down, and the San Jose City Council bowed to our demands to strip our names from the misguided Foley/Torres resolution. But we need to be clear-eyed: activist groups, special interests, biased local media, and teachers’ unions are threatened by the success of our Parents Rights movement and will return in an effort to blunt our momentum.
So, it's important for us all to internalize the key lessons of our success in this latest skirmish and anticipate their likely next steps. Here are our Five Big Takeaways from this latest chapter in our growth.
1.) Pushing back wins
It is very obvious that neither the City Council nor the School District were ready to be challenged by our calm, reasoned, fair-minded responses to their spurious claims in our series of Open Letters, nor by the strength and passion and persuasiveness of our supporters at public meetings. The lesson: stay calm, argue fairly, and don't let their smears go unanswered.
2.) Some elected officials are dishonest ideologues
Arguably, the most dispiriting part of the whole circus was watching elected representatives, especially Councilmember Pam Foley and FMSD Board President Rudy Rodriguez, spew transparently false observations about the whole issue of Parental Rights, about Informed Parents of Silicon Valley, and about Trustee Marc Cooper. It's possible that their failures of accuracy were just examples of sloppy research--but we suspect it's more than that, and these elected officials are so driven by extremist, hateful ideologies, that accuracy is something they care little about. Our analysis of Councilmember Foley's numerous whoppers will be forthcoming.
3.) The First Amendment is under attack from fringe activist groups and extremist politicians
Perhaps the most chilling realization we had from watching local governments in action was the ease with which they attempted to strip away basic rights of free speech and the ability to petition the government from the people who disagree with them. We will repeat it over and over, and in court if necessary: Students opting out of curriculum is enshrined in the California Education Code. Any effort by governments, politicians, or advocacy groups that impede that right is illegal and unconstitutional. Full stop.
4.) Parents' rights is a popular argument
We certainly didn't plan on these attacks being a marketing win for our movement, but it turned out that way. Thank you so much to all our new friends and supporters, who only heard about us via the overheated press coverage of our dances with local government. When people hear our message, they respond. So welcome to our movement. Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm.
5.) The Informed Parents community wins when we remain caring, concerned, educational, and inclusive
Our movement is about Parents' Rights. And only Parents' Rights. Our supporters come from all genders, all gender identities, all races, all creeds, and all values and belief structures. We are home for anyone who believes that--at the end of the day--parents are responsible for their children's education, and therefore have a right to influence, inform, and--if necessary--opt their children out of curriculum they find inappropriate. We are not here to decide for parents or schools what's right for kids--we are simply here to let parents know that they have an avenue to assert their rights and responsibilities as parents, if and when it conflicts with their local school. We are not anti-anybody or anything, we are only pro-Parents and pro-protection of Parents' Rights.
As long as we all stay focused there, and not get distracted by the wild charges of zealous politicians, we will continue to win.