They Are Your Children, Not The State’s!
They Are Your Children, Not The State’s!
Written By Oliver Perry   |   02.16.22
Reading Time: 17 minutes

Many politicians and educators want to steal our children. According to these activists, parents can feed and house children, but can’t guide their education or tell them how to choose right from wrong. Parents merely act as custodians of the State’s property. Here are recent samples of this line of thinking.

Media says that parents have no right to interfere with a public school education. The Washington Post printed a guest editorial that claims:

[E]ducation should prepare young people to think for themselves, even if that runs counter to the wishes of parents.

When do the interests of parents and children diverge? Generally, it occurs when a parent’s desire to inculcate a particular worldview denies the child exposure to other ideas and values that an independent young person might wish to embrace or at least entertain.[1]

That is, parents have no right to shield their children from any sort of predator or groomer having evil intent. As we’ll see later, this “no rights” idea comes from the claim that the interests of the child are automatically at odds with those of the parents.

Politicians also say parents have no such rights. In his campaign for reelection, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe promoted this statist argument against parents’ rights in education. He said it this way:

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”[2]

This statement was a key reason for his electoral defeat. But he didn’t get this opinion out of the blue. His friends and donors, teacher unions and school administrators, encouraged this thought.[3] They even call these nurturing parents “terrorists.”[4]

Parents are tyrants. Noah Berlatsky, a prominent liberal author, claims:

parents are tyrants. “parent” is an oppressive class, like rich people or white people.

socialists should be wary of the nuclear family; Marx is pretty definitive about that.[5]

Berlatsky has the traditional Marxist fear about the family, that its primary loyalty is to itself and not the (socialist) community.

We must abolish parenthood itself. According to columnist Joe Mathews[6] we must forbid parents from raising their own children. This amounts to abolishing parenting altogether. His article says:

Fathers and mothers with greater wealth and education are more likely to transfer these advantages to their children, compounding privilege over generations. As a result, children of less advantaged parents face an uphill struggle, social mobility has stalled, and democracy has been corrupted.

My solution — making raising your own children illegal — is simple, and while we wait for the legislation to pass, we can act now: the rich and poor should trade kids, and homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.

In his “Republic,” Plato adopted Socrates’ sage advice — that children “be possessed in common, so that no parent will know his own offspring or any child his parents” — in order to defeat nepotism, and create citizens loyal not to their sons but to society.

But don’t pay those critics any mind. Because they just can’t see how our relentless pursuit of equity might birth a brave new world.[7]

(Note: Mathews’ is apparently embarrassed by what he said. Other web sites have a version of this column that reads “My solution is simple”, along with other minor changes. Just what is Mathews’ afraid of you reading?)

If a mother is banned from raising her own newborn – how can one even contemplate this confiscation? (Jeremiah 31:15) – then it’s likely that women won’t bother to have children at all. Whether Mathews offered satire or no, his “universal orphanhood” proposal aligns with socialist thought.

Why should we care what they say? These screeds against parents’ rights give us glimpses of why these activists, including teachers and school administrators, have become our opponents. Their words disclose their desires and plans. Believe them when they say they want to make changes. And if unopposed, they’ll create a cultural revolution by government fiat. Read on to understand what drives their animosity. You’ll also find some thoughts on how to confront this war on parenting.

The war against families and parental authority

Whose child is this? Does the child “belong” to his or her parents, or to the State? The answer to this question shapes our society. For example, without families raising children you wouldn’t have multi-bedroom homes, minivans, or even suburbs. We’d merely have loose communities of selfish, self-centered people, for the responsibility of nurturing children teaches commitment, devotion, and compassion.

By tradition and law, the parents have the primary responsibility for a child’s custody, care, and nurture. This responsibility also covers teaching morals and values, and deciding the content of education. That these decisions are for the parents to make, and not the State, has been repeatedly confirmed by the courts. One such Supreme Court case is Wisconsin v Yoder:

The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition. – Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) [8]

But recent academic agitators have decided to debate the issue anyway. They say that parents are unfit to teach because they’re tyrants.[9] One of these agitators is Elizabeth Bartholet,[10] who wrote this about parents directing their children’s education:

The legal claim made in defense of the current homeschooling regime is based on a dangerous idea about parent rights—that those with enormous physical and other power over infants and children should be subject to virtually no check on that power. That parents should have monopoly control over children’s lives, development, and experience. That parents who are committed to beliefs and values counter to those of the larger society are entitled to bring their children up in isolation, so as to help ensure that they will replicate the parents’ views and lifestyle choices.

This legal claim is inconsistent with the child’s right to what has been called an “open future”—the right to exposure to alternative views and experiences essential for children to grow up to exercise meaningful choices about their own future views, religion, lifestyles, and work.

It is inconsistent with state laws and constitutional provisions guaranteeing child rights to education. It is inconsistent with state and federal laws guaranteeing children protection against abuse and neglect.[11]

By “open future,” she means State-approved morals and perspectives. Her view, and distortion of family law, is meant to break our society. She claims that children must be presumptively protected from their very own parents! James Dwyer,[12] a close associate of Bartholet, claims that “parental rights” amounts to kidnapping. He wrote:

But it is only because state statutes make biological parents the legal parents of a newborn child and give legal parents presumptive custody rights that birth parents have legal permission to do what would otherwise be kidnapping—that is, to take a person to their home and confine the person there without that person’s consent.[13]

And elsewhere Dwyer wrote:

The reason that parent-child relationship exists is because the state confers legal parenthood on people through its paternity and maternity laws.[14]

According to Dwyer, the concepts of “parenting” and “family” are mere legal constructs, that they didn’t exist until some government made them happen. Instead of government existing to serve the community, he thinks that people exist solely to serve the government. In the end, these activists want to make all children wards of the state.

Through this analysis, it becomes apparent that the claim that parents should have child-rearing rights – rather than simply being permitted to perform parental duties and to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf in accordance with the child’s rights – is inconsistent with principles deeply embedded in our law and morality.[15]

In Dwyer’s world, once you bring your children home you may only do for them what the government permits.

I propose further that the law confer on parents simply a child-rearing privilege, limited in its scope to actions and decisions not inconsistent with the child’s temporal interests. Such a privilege, coupled with a broader set of children’s rights, is sufficient to satisfy parents’ legitimate interests in child-rearing.[16]

In short, the mother and father may only play at being parents, being sure to not to instill virtues not preordained by the statist bureaucrats. This mirrors what the Soviets tried, and failed at, in Russia:

What responsibilities are left to the parents, when they no longer have to take charge of upbringing and education?… The state does not need the family, because the domestic economy is no longer profitable: the family distracts the worker from more useful and productive labour.[17]

Even today, Communists want to abolish the family:

Today, the main backwards role the family plays is the oppression of children, who are subjected to a tyranny of the parents and denied the basic rights which should belong to every human, most importantly the right of free development of the personality.[18]

To summarize, we don’t find American parents begging the government to take away their rights. Rather, academics have invented a rift between parent and child. They want the government to institutionalize their divisive, never-tried, and ungodly ways of dealing with children.

Defend all of our rights of parenting

Elected officials promise to represent all of us. However, they keep aligning themselves with tiny activist groups. Maybe it’s for the campaign money, or maybe the officials feel threatened by the activists’ political threats. Senator Everett Dirksen said about politicians, “when they feel the heat, they see the light.”[19]

To preserve our religious and parental rights, Christians need to do more than just vote. We must bring our own “heat.” Here are my suggestions for bringing political heat, some of which may surprise you.

Be persistent in pleading your cause. Politicians expect any that outrage against them will fade over time. Usually, political persistence is found only in those people wanting favors, and who have the money with which to buy them. If politicians don’t hear opposing voices, then they’ll forget their true constituencies.

Christians must frequently remind their officials just whom they represent, and that they’re supposed to be both just and impartial (Exodus 23:1-3; Leviticus 19:15). For example, isn’t trading donations for favors showing partiality? We must be like the widow who petitioned her unrighteous judge both day and night (Luke 18:1-5).

Be persistent in prayer. After telling us of the widow and the wicked judge, Jesus told us to be persistent before God. He will surely bring forth justice (Luke 18:6-8).

Be loud and be heard. Don’t be crude, but also don’t be timid. After all, the prophets weren’t gentle with the people concerning with God’s word (Jeremiah 36). And even Jesus riled up people when he scourged the Temple (John 2:13-16). Make sure that your officials have heard you, even if it means following them around. Make them uncomfortable, and even give them midnight serenades. After all, it’s protected political speech.[20] 

Be the all-important precinct captain. The best way to get politicians you like is to help weed out the bad ones before they even get to the ballot. That means becoming your own precinct’s captain, the most important political role in the country. Both the Democrats[21] and Republicans[22] recognize that political power starts with the precinct. The precinct captain walks through the precinct, at each home promoting the candidates he or she approves of. This means the captain has great power to influence elections.

Becoming a captain is easier than you think. See the site to find out how.[23]

Be bold in the courts. The right to worship (First Amendment) doesn’t mean only the ability to think religious thoughts. It means being able to physically practice your religion in your private and public life. This also includes how your religion affects your parenting, such as in the Wisconsin v Yoder case (see above).[24] And ever since the Fourteenth Amendment, state law can’t be used to limit religious rights or activity.[25] But government officials, or the courts, won’t proactively fight for your rights. You yourself must act, challenging bad actions, laws, and decrees (“executive orders”) in court.

Be obedient to God, not to evil commands. In Romans 13, the apostle Paul speaks of obedience to authorities. The ruler is a “minister of God to you for good” (Romans 13:4). That is, a ruler is God’s delegated authority to encourage and enforce godly behavior. But if a ruler issues evil commands, he or she does so outside of that delegated authority to be a “minister for good.” You have no obligation before God to obey any evil commands.[26]

This principle was understood, and used, many times. Here’s a few cases:[27]

  • In the 16th century, Lutherans resisted the Emperor. He told them to abandon “salvation by grace” or be killed.
  • In the 17th century, Scots resisted King Charles. He gave them a new, “official” way to worship which denied their Presbyterian beliefs.
  • In the 1770s, the American Colonists resisted King George. He tried numerous means to deny their God-given rights and freedoms.

All three of these cases have the same idea: while a ruler may have physical power, he or she has no moral or legal authority when acting beyond the ruler’s scope of office. In all three cases the communities resorted to military force to resist the unrighteous commands.

This “minister for good” concept is worth understanding well. It’s guidance for when you must decide to either obey God or obey an ungodly command. I recommend you read the referenced article, to be sure of yourself.

Be a shield against cultural insurrection. As we see, teachers, advocates, and politicians are seeking control of children that aren’t theirs. This is a power grab, a literal insurrection by elites. If Christians, and if parents, don’t block this then we might lose both our children and our American society.

Protect our children from subversive public schools

We’ve been blind and lazy about our public schools. We trusted our teachers and school officials, but they betrayed this trust by actively, and unapologetically, working against community values. They deny parental input, and also refuse oversight of their dealings.[28] We can’t even believe them when they do tell us things.[29] Perhaps as a joke, President Ronald Reagan said about the Russians “Trust, but verify.”[30] We could been verifying public schooling a long time ago, saving ourselves much grief.

If the public school people won’t teach community values, and reject community oversight, then why pay them with community property taxes? They promote society-altering socialism: Critical Race Theory,[31] the anti-American 1619 Project,[32] and liberating children from their parents (see above). These aren’t American community values!

Therefore, protecting our children revolves around getting them into schooling that their parents can trust. This generally means private schools or homeschooling. But what about families for this is a pipe dream? For them, leaving the public schools is hard for reasons like these:

  • Private schools aren’t cheap. One survey has the tuition of Illinois private high schools at about $12,000 per year.[33] You might find a lower-priced school hosted in a subsidized building, or supported by charitable donations. You also might find a school with a fancy campus, because it’s intended to attract wealthy parents. But on the average, attending a private school is a substantial burden on the family budget.

But even at those rates, a family still might be able to swing a private school education. That is, if that family wasn’t forced to also pay for the expensive public schools. For example, in 2020 Chicago public schools spent about $30,000 per student![34] Even Paul Vallas, who used to run the Chicago public schools, now wants a practical school voucher program.[35]

  • Parents are at work, and not available for homeschooling. Many families are single-parent households, or have both parents working outside of the home. They can’t take advantage of homeschooling because no adult would be at home to supervise their children.
  • Educating special needs children is costly. When schooling children with severe mental or physical handicaps, extra aides, specialists, and facilities are needed. Parents of these children can currently turn only to the public school systems.

I don’t have big, comprehensive, plans that fix community schools to everyone’s satisfaction. And I don’t want such plans, for they lead to big, comprehensive bureaucracies. Rather, when people act in their own self interest they uncover small solutions to limited problems. Those that work get adopted by others. Here are my ideas for small solutions to education problems.

Take over your local school board. If you don’t trust the public schools, then why not clean house? Once you, and your friends, have control you can get rid of the bad people, fix the curricula, create transparency, etc. Sure, the teacher unions would be determined and formidable opponents. After all, you’re cutting in on their game. But a community coalition can win.

I’m serious about this. Here is a campaign cookbook that teaches how to network, and how to campaign to win.[36] Yes, it’s hard work, but it pays off. At the very least, you’ll have created the sort of “heat” your local politicians pay attention to.

Invent, and promote, easy-to-use homeschool systems. Homeschooling has a reputation for being hard to do. Yet:

  • There are already homeschooling systems that claim to be easy to use. The parents get guidance on setting up their school. The student lessons might even be supplied as computer lectures. And the vendors do the hard work of getting the students’ efforts academically recognized.
  • There might already be an online catalog or directory of easy homeschooling systems.

But if these easy systems are out there, then why are they so hard to find? And if there is a catalog of them, then where is it? My point is that self-promotion goes a long way to multiplying the number of families willing to try homeschooling.

I’m willing to use my blog to promote easy-to-use curricula providers, and catalogs of curricula. I also think that other blogs would do likewise. And if these online catalogs don’t yet exist, then who can start the first one?

Create models for bare-bones, but affordable, private schools. Modeling a private school on the public school model results in a pricey education. After all, public schools aren’t designed to be economical.

But what if a school pattern was created that has no frills: no sports teams, no fancy campus, no snob appeal for parents. Its attraction would be providing a competent, but inexpensive, education. The parents could shop among such schools, choosing which one best suited their desires. Such schools could be held wherever empty office space, or empty meeting halls, could be found. And they’d be priced so low that parents could use them even while paying for the public schools they aren’t using.

How inexpensive can we get? A school is just curricula, a teacher, some students, and a place for holding classes. Suppose that:

  • Online curricula were used to do the actual teaching. The students would be largely interacting with the computer lessons. Such online teaching is already available from various private schools, and from some homeschool curricula publishers. It ought to be inexpensive to license these for a private school.
  • Teachers and assistants monitor the students in their online learning. Their main teaching role would be to help the students over particular lesson difficulties, so you wouldn’t need many people. Perhaps you could get by with three or four adults per hundred children. That, and reminders from the parents that their children behave “or else.”
  • The school could be held in a church basement, a rented hall, or some underused business property. There are enough of these places that a school could be placed most anywhere in a community. A quick online search of school codes reveals few conditions on building suitability, the biggest concerns being those of the fire departments.

A school of a hundred students, with full-time staff, held in a business property (that is, paying rent), might get by with an annual tuition of less than $6000. The actual numbers depend on the details.[37]

For me, an added benefit of inexpensive private schools is that it forces the public schools to scale back, for their funding is partially based on actual student attendance. A shrinking student base means they must sell underused properties, and perhaps become more responsive to their communities.

Promote a “community chest” to help special needs children get their education. Public schools are primarily funded by community property taxes. This means that parents of public school students don’t pay the entire costs of that year’s education. They’re subsidized by other homeowners.

This subsidy is even greater for special needs children. For example, a student with severe disabilities might need a one-on-one aide. The community, through the school, subsidizes this student more than it does other students.

If the switch to private schools works out, and the public school system shrinks, then we must remember these special needs students, along with their families. But we should help them through private donations, and not through taxes. A community, and not its government, should take care of its own. For example, look at what President Grover Cleveland said.

In February 1887, President Grover Cleveland, upon vetoing a bill appropriating money to aid drought-stricken farmers in Texas, said,

“I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.”

President Cleveland added,

“The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”[38]

You already see Facebook and Go Fund Me appeals for certain individuals and causes. That is the same sort of giving spirit that these parents will need for their disabled children’s education. What did you think those Monopoly “Community Chest” cards meant? Give, to help those in your community.

May I help?

I’d like parents to regain control of their children’s education. I currently know precious little of the details concerning private schools, but I think I can help anyway. For example, I could help catalog and promote useful homeschooling systems. And I could help work out details of “model inexpensive schools.” I also know a thing or two about computers.

If you’d like to write and see if I really can help, leave an email at this (slightly-obfuscated) address:  trusted.schools –at-


[1]      Schneider, Jack and Berkshire, Jennifer, Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t., Washington Post, October 21, 2021,

[2]      Terry McAuliffe’s War on Parents, National Review, October 1, 2021,

[3]      Duggan, Laurel, Teachers Union President Backing McAuliffe Promotes Article Claiming Parents Don’t Have A ‘Right’ In What Kids Are Taught, Daily Caller News Foundation, October 26, 2021,

[4]      Sims, Gwendolyn, Concerned Parents Are ‘Immediate Threat’ Says National School Boards Association President—Some Are Even Domestic Terrorists!, PJ Media, October 1, 2021,

[5]      Berlatsky, Noah, Parents are tyrants, Twitter, December 14, 2020,

[6]      Joe Mathews, LA Progressive,

[7]      Mathews, Joe, Column: California should abolish parenthood, in the name of equity, Yahoo News, January 13, 2022,

[8]      The Supreme Court’s Parental Rights Doctrine, Parental Rights,
The left column has several legal quotes, accessed by clicking on the line of “dot” links. The Yoder quote is merely one of these quotes.

[9]      Poole, Christian, The Case for Homeschooling (Part 1): The Strangeness of the Anti-Homeschool Movement, ThinkingWest, May 19, 2020,

[10]    Elizabeth Bartholet, Wikipedia,

[11]    Bartholet, Elizabeth, Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection, Arizona Law Review, Volume 62, Issue 1 [2020],

[12]    James Dwyer, William & Mary Law School,

[13]    Dwyer, James, A Constitutional Birthright: The State, Parentage, and the Rights of Newborn Persons, UCLA Law Review, page 762, 56 UCLA LAW REVIEW 755 (2009),

[14]    Prominent Law Prof: ‘State Should Take Over the Legal Parental Role of Children’, Truth and Action,
Alas! The original quote was in an interview on the CRTV network, but any transcription isn’t found on the internet. In some cases, the internet is NOT forever.

[15]    Dwyer, James, Parents’ Religion and Children’s Welfare: Debunking the Doctrine of Parents’ Rights, page 1373, William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository, Faculty Publications, January 1994,

[16]    Dwyer, James, Parents’ Religion, page 1374.

[17]    Kollontai, Alexandra, Communism and the Family, published in The Worker, 1920, collected in Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai, Allison & Busby, 1977, found at

[18]    Meghany, The communist abolition of the family, Destroy Capitalism Now!, March 26, 2017,

[19]    “Politicians see the light when they feel the heat”, The Big Apple blog, December 2, 2010,

[20]    Schow, Ashe, Washington Post Defends Protesters At Senator Josh Hawley’s Home: ‘Peaceful Vigil’, The Daily Wire, January 5, 2021,

[21]    Rural Organizing & Engagement Toolkit for Precinct Captains, Democratic Party Official Website,

[22]    5 Duties of the Precinct Chair, Collin County Republican Party, September 3, 2015,

[23]    Shultz, Dan, Precinct Strategy,

[24]    The Supreme Court’s Parental Rights Doctrine, Parental Rights

[25]    McCarthy, Mary, Application of the First Amendment to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, Notre Dame Law Review, Volume 22, Issue 4, Article 2, May 1, 1947,

[26]    Perry, Oliver, American Christians, Tyranny, and Resistance, Illinois Family Institute, May 20, 2021,

[27]    Ibid.

[28]    Kingkade, Tyler, They fought critical race theory. Now they’re focusing on ‘curriculum transparency.’, NBC News, January 20, 2022,

[29]    LaChance, Mike, Report: California Public School Teachers Being Told to Hide Critical Race Materials From Parents, Legal Insurrection, April 14, 2021,

[30]    Watson, William, Trust, but Verify: Reagan, Gorbachev, and the INF Treaty, The Hilltop Review, Volume 5, Issue 1 (Fall), Article 5, Western Michigan University, December 2011,

[31]    Perry, Oliver, Critical Race Theory is anti-Christian, Illinois Family Institute, October 8, 2021,

[32]    The 1619 Project, Critical Race Training in Education,

[33]    Illinois Private High Schools By Tuition Cost, Private School Review,

[34]    Conklin, Audrey, Chicago Teachers Union demands to know how Lightfoot is spending $2B in federal COVID relief for schools, Fox Business, January 5, 2021,
The article has an embedded link (see below) that effectively hides per-pupil spending by dividing it between fixed costs (the buildings, etc.) and instructional costs (the teaching). See

[35]    Vallas, Paul, Guest Column–Paul Vallas: There is No Choice But School Choice, John Kass News,

[36]    Toolkit: Combatting Critical Race Theory in your Community, Citizens for Renewing America, June 8, 2021,

[37]    Let’s try to estimate annual tuition for a school of 100 students.

  1. A private school needs adult staff, which are full-time jobs for them. Factoring in benefits, let’s estimate one school master at $100,000, plus two assistants at $50,000, plus one administrator at $70,000. This gives annual labor costs of $270,000. We can use so few people because the teaching is done largely through computers, and we’ll have substantial moral support from the parents, pressuring their children to cooperate.
  2. There are various homeschooling curricula that can be used. We could also turn to existing online schools whose online lessons we can lease. These sources will provide lessons, as well as proof (like “accreditation”). I see advertised costs of somewhere near $1,000 per pupil. I’d think that for a hundred students at once you could get a substantial discount on leases, so estimate licensing at $500 per pupil, or $50,000 per hundred students.
  3. The school needs a suitable site. It might be the “between friends” use of a church hall, or currently vacant business space. Lacking specificity, I pick a number out of the air and say that facilities and utilities cost $300,000 for a year.
  4. The annual costs for teachers, curriculum, and facilities comes to about (270,000 + 50,000 + 300,000 =) $620,000, or $6,200 per student.
  5. A particular school could end up with much lower operating costs, but because of donated labor or facilities. Additionally, does the school intend to make even a small amount of money, or is it offered as a community service?

[38]    Williams, Walter, Charity Not a Proper Function of the American Government, The Liberal Institute,

Oliver Perry
Oliver has lived in Illinois for decades.  He wasn’t born here, but got here as fast as he could.  He found his bride at church and still adores her.  Together they’ve raised three children to successful adulthood. Oliver sees that even today the Bible speaks authoritatively on society, its government and its laws. He hopes that through these articles you will be encouraged to also think along these lines. For more, check out his blog at
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