WI Supreme Court hears parental rights case

WI Supreme Court hears parental rights case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Tuesday. This is a critical parental rights case in which parents are rightfully challenging an absurd school policy that allows the school to majorly overstep its boundaries.  

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought the case to the Dane County Circuit Court in 2020 after MMSD implemented policies allowing students to use a different gender identity at school by changing their name and pronouns without consent from their parents. The district even instructed employees to hide the information from parents. 

WILL argues that it is the right of parents to make healthcare decisions for their children, and gender confusion can significantly impact a child’s mental health. “Transitioning to a different gender identity is a significant psychotherapeutic intervention that requires parental notice or consent,” said WILL. MMSD is clearly violating parental rights by attempting to make this decision for them. 

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington issued a partial injunction in 2020 that prevents the school district from “applying or enforcing any policy, guideline, or practice” that “allows or requires District staff to conceal information or to answer untruthfully in response to any question that parents ask about their child at school, including information about the name and pronouns being used to address their child at school.” 

This injunction is not enough, however. It still permits minors to “transition” at school without requiring schools to notify parents or ask for their consent. The parents challenging this rule also requested to remain anonymous, but Judge Remington partially denied this request.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is now deliberating on the case and will determine whether the parents can proceed anonymously and whether the partial injunction goes far enough. 

During oral arguments this past Tuesday (May 24), one of the attorneys for the school district struggled to admit parents have inherent rights regarding their children, saying that parents basically don’t have rights when it comes to the issue of their child’s gender identity at school. 

When discussing the need for anonymity for the parents, WILL attorney Luke Berg asserted that disclosing the names could result in bullying and even harm to the parents and their children. Attorneys for the district refuted that idea and asked that the names be released to all the attorneys and everyone in their 3 large law firms, contending that these individuals (amounting at least 1000 attorneys alone) would not leak the names. Justice Rebecca G. Bradley spoke up and said essentially that she disputed the district’s assertion, noting that one of the groups that had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in support of the parents had their office firebombed after the leaked US Supreme Court draft opinion. Obviously, Justice Bradley was referring to us. (I was in the court room for the oral arguments.) 

This case has huge ramifications not just here in Wisconsin but nationwide since it’s the first case in the country dealing with this issue. It could either help enshrine parental rights or severely compromise them.

For the sake of children’s well-being, parents need to be their primary decision makers, especially when it comes to questions of healthcare. Reaffirming a child’s delusion can pose significant negative consequences to their psychological development. They need the protection of their parents.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler indicated the court would issue a decision promptly, which means we should certainly have the court’s final decision no later than June or July. In the meantime, please pray that the court rules justly and upholds parental rights.

Even after public schools reopened, homeschooling numbers are up

Even after public schools reopened, homeschooling numbers are up

The coronavirus crisis has catalyzed a drastic surge in homeschooling as parents’ concerns grow about public education. 

While homeschooling numbers are slightly lower than last year’s record high, they are still significantly higher than pre-COVID-19 levels. During the 2020-2021 school year, the number of homeschooling students in the U.S. increased by 63%. Even though schools have re-opened, the majority of families that opted for homeschooling over remote learning have continued with it. 

The Wisconsin Policy Forum reported historic drops in enrollment for public and private schools in Wisconsin. Nearly 31,900 students were homeschooled during the 2020-21 school year, which is a 47% increase from the previous year. 

Private school enrollment took less of a hit than public school enrollment, but still saw the greatest decrease since 2013. 

Virtual charter schools also attracted new Wisconsin families, as enrollment increased by 84% from last year. 

In Milwaukee, public school enrollment decreased by 4.2% and 151 students switched to homeschooling. 

Parents have attributed their decision to homeschool to philosophical differences with their schools, Covid restrictions, and concerns about the quality of education. Generally, children arebetter off learning vital skills and values from their parents than being propagandized from activist teachers. 

With so much corruption happening in public schools, homeschooling acts as a beacon of hope. Children benefit greatly, especially mentally and spiritually, when they are primarily guided by their parents rather than the anti-Christian culture that is overrunning schools. 

Thankfully, Wisconsin is leading the country in school choice, and it offers homeschooling parents plenty of freedom to direct their children’s education. The homeschool law was passed in 1983 and hasn’t been changed since then, making it one of the best homeschool laws in the country.

The Academy of Excellence Online (AoE) provides an excellent homeschooling opportunity for families in Wisconsin – it is a virtual program available for Wisconsin parents interested in homeschooling and also is part of the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (“the voucher program”).. The deadline for applying is April 21st! AoE also has brick-and-mortar Christian schools in Milwaukee that also participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Homeschooling is an excellent option for parents who want to protect their children from radical indoctrination. It provides parents the opportunity to train their children for the ideological battle being waged against them. Children need to learn how to recognize and combat the lies they are being fed, meaning all parents must engage in some form of education at home. The very best defense for children is parents being on offense!

This transition away from public school is a necessary and exciting change. Let’s keep the momentum going in Wisconsin and continue to vouch for homeschooling and school choice in order to protect children and parents’ rights. Hopefully next legislative session we can expand educational freedom in Wisconsin. 

National School Choice Week – WI continues to lead

January 23-29 marks National School Choice week, “the world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education,” according to National School Choice Week (NSCW). Hundreds of schools will spend the week celebrating choice in education. Wisconsin is one of the nation’s leaders in school choice – but we need to work to keep it that way.

Defending school choice in our state is vital to both Wisconsin families and the nation at large. Many public schools have become corrupt and untrustworthy as Critical Race Theory infiltrates the classroom, stories emerge of activist teaching, and some schools shut down due to COVID again and again. Further, many teachers do not respect parental rights and even hide information from parents. Many parents are eager to pull their children out of public school and look for alternative options.

NSCW recently conducted a survey showing that parents are unhappy with the schools that their children currently attend. More than half of parents said they had considered or are considering alternative schooling options for their children. Further, 84.7% agreed that parents must be able to send their children to the schools that best meet their needs, including “traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online public schools, private schools, and homeschooling.”

Happily, in Wisconsin, parents have reasonable options for the education of their children. Within the public school world, parents can choose the school in the district where they live, or they can opt for open enrollment and enroll in a school in a different district, with some exceptions. Still under the public school umbrella are charter schools and virtual charter schools.

Moving from public schools to private schools, Wisconsin offers the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Racine Parental Choice Program and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program—all of which are part of what most people call the “voucher school” option. These programs allow income-qualified families to send their children to private schools participating in Choice (voucher) Programs. Parents can apply to be part of a school choice program. Registration begins in February for Wisconsin’s Choice Programs. Of particular note is that at least one school in the Choice Program, Academy of Excellent, now offers a virtual option for parents that qualify for the vouchers.

Wisconsin also has some of the best homeschooling laws in the country. Parents are encouraged to homeschool and are not burdened by overbearing restrictions as they are in some states.

While Wisconsin is leading the nation in educational opportunities, we have more to do. We need universal choice in Wisconsin. Incomes and zip codes should not determine who gets to take advantage of our educational options. Our current governor is no fan of school choice, believing the only good school is a public school. Until we change our governor, we won’t have any expansion in school choice.

This is an issue that should concern more than just parents, but our entire community. Education holds immense power. It shapes our children, thereby molding the future of our country. In many schools across the country, however, the responsibility of educating our children has been put in the wrong hands. Ultimately, it is the parents’ right and duty to educate their children. It’s also a God-given responsibility; we must be vigilant stewards of our children and their education. Wisconsin Family Action will continue to champion school choice to ensure that should one educational option fail a child, his or her parents can responsibly choose another schooling option.

NSCW’s website offers a variety of resources that teachers, parents, and organizations can use to promote and support school choice. SchoolChoiceWi.org is also a fantastic resource for parents in Wisconsin exploring alternative schooling options.

We encourage everyone to use this week as an opportunity to share this important information about school choice in Wisconsin with your family and friends, and let’s resolve to be even better stewards of our children’s and grandchildren’s education.

Parents Have Every Right To Be Mad

Parents have faced disgraceful backlash from our own government leaders for doing their duty and standing up for their children. Last year, the NSBA likened parents to “domestic terrorists” after they spoke out against problems like Critical Race Theory (CRT) infiltrating schools. While the NSBA’s letter was alarming by itself, a newly released email reveals that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona actually solicited this letter from the NSBA. Many parents are now doubly disturbed – and rightfully so.

Parents have awakened to the corruption in our education system, and they are fighting back. Progressive activism in the Badger State is being countered by rational parents who are just sticking up for their kids.

Kylee Zempel, writing for The Federalist, reported earlier this week on a recent town hall meeting in Wisconsin attended by many upset parents. Topics discussed included Critical Race Theory (CRT), leftist teaching, school closures, and mask mandates. The meeting was organized by Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is running against Democrat Gov. Tony Evers this fall. Kleefisch told those in attendance that they must become activists and combat the liberal insanity that is controlling our schools and influencing our children.

Many parents have painfully watched their children suffer while their schools refused to do in-person instruction for long periods of time. Students had a horrible year academically in 2020-21. Many struggled with virtual learning and fell behind. They also suffered socially and emotionally. Even after schools reopened, many healthy students were required to stay home and quarantine for up to ten days after being exposed, often without any at-home instruction. These lockdowns and quarantines ultimately did more harm than good, and now parents are fed up.

After watching their children’s GPA plummet during the lockdowns, some parents have decided to remove their children from the public school system entirely. Couple this with parents being upset by finding inappropriate materials in both physical and digital school libraries, boys being allowed in the girls’ bathrooms, and ideas such as CRT being taught, and you have parents looking for alternatives and making decisions to make a difference in their own school districts.

Here are three things you can do to make a difference in all this.

1. Get involved in the elections. Our spring nonpartisan elections are right around the corner. The primary is February 15 and the general April 5. This is when we elect school board members. Find out who the conservative candidates are in your district. Help them get elected. Call and find out what they need, and then step up and get busy. Encourage others to join you. Build an effective local army!

By Tuesday, January 25, you can find out who is on your ballot HERE. But don’t wait that long. Check with your municipal clerk right away. Check with friends and neighbors who stay up on local politics. Because these elections are typically low-voter-turnout elections, even just a little help can put a candidate over the finish line. Be part of the solution in your own backyard!

2. Consider educational options. The window for applying for and registering for one of our state’s educational options opens in February. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in schools that are failing in any way, consider the options carefully, including vouchers, home-schooling and more. . You can find information about all the options, along with application materials and deadlines, HERE.

3. Pray for wisdom. Ask God what He wants you to do to make a difference. Pray for the good candidates running. Pray for the protection of students.

Parents and concerned citizens have a right to be angry about what has happened and is continuing to happen to our children in government schools. But that anger needs to be channeled and needs to be productive. Now is the time to make a real and a positive difference—for the children.

Wisconsin Family Action stands ready to help in any way we can. Call us at 888-378-7395 or email us at info@wifamilyaction.org.

President Trump issues Exec Order to establish Commission to improve understanding of nation’s history/founding principles

Through a new Executive Order, President Trump is establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission, which will work to improve understanding of our nation’s history and founding principles among America’s rising generations. Below please find links to the text of the Executive Order and a fact sheet describing the mission of the Commission.

Click HERE to read the Executive Order on Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.

Click HERE to read a fact sheet describing the mission of the Commission.