Biden department cancels parents council
Critics say partisan group was flawed from the start
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education canceled a parent advisory council formed earlier this year, effectively ending litigation over it. “The department has informed plaintiffs that it is immediately and permanently disbanding the council and that the council will not hold any future meetings,” the plaintiffs and defendants wrote in a joint notice. “Based on these representations, plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss their lawsuit without prejudice.”
The Biden administration announced the new National Parents and Families Engagement Council in June, providing a list of 14 advocacy organizations that would make up the council. Conservative groups, including Parents Defending Education, filed a lawsuit against the department in July, saying the council’s creation defied federal law, which requires public notice and the inclusion of multiple perspectives. The administration countered that the group did not meet the official parameters of an advisory committee, which would require it to follow the viewpoint diversity requirement.
In September, federal Judge Royce Lamberth told both sides to present more specific information about how the council would operate, setting a deadline for this past Monday.
Five Republican senators wrote to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Friday, asking him to abolish the council or invite other voices to join. On Monday, the Department of Education announced the cancellation of the council. By the next day, the top Google search for “National Parents and Families Engagement Council” listed an access-denied Department of Education page.
Keri Rodrigues, president of the National Parents Union, told reporters that both legal parties treated parents “as pawns in their convoluted culture wars.” The National Parents Union was one of the 14 organizations the Biden administration invited to comprise the council.
Parents Defending Education president Nicole Neily said the council’s closure proved its partisanship. “The fact that the Biden Administration chose to shut down its virtue-signaling parents council—rather than add any intellectual diversity—speaks volumes,” she wrote.
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