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‘Increased Parental Engagement In Education Issues Is Unwelcome’: After Uncovering Damning Emails, ‘Parents Defending Education’ Founder Slams Biden Admin

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, during a ceremony in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2022 in Washington, DC. One year ago, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden.
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According to emails uncovered by Parents Defending Education, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona appeared to solicit the National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter which compared parents protesting issues like Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools to domestic terrorists.

In an October 5 email, NSBA Secretary-Treasurer Kristi Swett said that NSBA interim CEO Chip Slaven “told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.”

These emails were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

“We heard from a few people that the state affiliates of NSBA were not notified of the letter sent to the White House — which is what sparked my questioning of the state chapters,” PDE founder and president Nicole Neily told The Daily Wire. “Additionally, on October 6, Karlyn Borysenko said she heard from a whistleblower that the board wasn’t read in on the letter either.”

“NSBA is a nonprofit, so their emails are not subject to public records requests; that being said, the NSBA board members themselves all serve in their local districts, so I sent requests to the home district of the (at the time) 23 officers, directors, and ex-officio voting members requesting correspondence related to a set of relevant search terms,” Neily explained.

Education Secretary Cardona was condemned by Republicans following PDE’s actions. 

“Secretary Cardona needs to explain himself to the American people. Parents aren’t the enemy, and it would be inexcusable if he solicited that kind of rhetoric from the National School Board Association,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said in a statement Tuesday. “The baseless, dishonest allegations of terrorism in the NSBA letter are vile because they’re designed to silence important discussions about education.”

“The emails we’ve uncovered — as well as whistleblower information that America First Legal obtained — strongly implies that increased parental engagement in education issues is unwelcome, at least at the federal level,” Neily said, when asked what Secretary Cardona’s apparent actions indicate about the Biden administration’s attitude towards protesting parents. “Parents have been growing increasingly vocal about their displeasure with the state of American education across the board — but it’s a real question whether the Administration is listening.”

“When the Department of Education floated a trial balloon about leveraging an existing civics grant program to insert materials like the 1619 Project and Ibram Kendi into schools, we created a comment portal for people to weigh in through Regulations.gov — and nearly 12,000 people did so,” Neily added. “In the wake of Attorney General Garland’s October 4 memo, we created another portal where over 7,300 people sent letters directly to DOJ expressing their condemnation.”

A spokesperson for Education Department denied that Cardona solicited the NSBA letter in a statement to Fox News, saying, “While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations.”

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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