By Jessica Chasmar via Fox News
The U.S. Department of Education is disbanding its newly created national parents council after multiple parental rights groups sued, alleging it was politically biased and violated federal law, according to court documents filed Monday.
The department sparked a firestorm over the summer after it announced its new National Parents and Families Engagement Council as a means to find “constructive ways to help families engage at the local level.” Fight for Schools, Parents Defending Education, and America First Legal filed a joint federal lawsuit in July saying the council violated multiple provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) that require balance and transparency.
Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily praised the decision in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“We are gratified that Secretary Cardona’s Potemkin village ‘Parents Council’ will be disbanded, because families should never be used merely as props to advance progressive policies,” Neily said. “Parental engagement is essential for students to succeed; accordingly, it is critical that ALL voices and perspectives be integrated into any feedback mechanism that the Biden Administration operates – and that the Department of Education respect the rule of law.”
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced the council’s creation in June, following more than two years of protests from parents demanding more control in their children’s education amid decisions made by school boards surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parental rights groups claimed in their lawsuit that the council’s members were allies of the Biden administration, and that nearly 80% of their leaders donated to Biden or other Democrats.
Organizations selected for the council included Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and multiple pro-Black Lives Matter groups, including Mocha Moms Inc., United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN), and UnidosUS.
“To have a fair balance of viewpoints and competent deliberation on students’ needs, there must be fairly equal representation from both sides of the political spectrum,” the lawsuit stated. “That is not the case here, as the Council consists of groups that are already supportive of this administration.”