Your Children Belong to the State…

Or, so says MSNBC host Melissa Harris.

We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

Leftists represent a significant threat to families. This sort of talk should be taken very seriously by parents because leftists truly believe this silliness. The worst part is that this lady, Melissa Harris, is a college professor at Tulane University. Yes. She’s “educating”  impressionable young minds. Can you imagine the indoctrination?

And it occurs to me that we’ve tried this approach to collective education and it has failed miserably. Children “educated” in State-approved schools score significantly worse on college entrance exams than those children educated in private and home-schools. So we have yet another example of a grand idea, however impractical, heralded over the evidence that it is ineffective. Typical leftism.


Melissa Harris issued a response to all the criticism. She said,

My inbox began filling with hateful, personal attacks on Monday, apparently as a result of conservative reactions to a recent “Lean Forward” advertisement now airing on MSNBC, which you can view above. What I thought was an uncontroversial comment on my desire for Americans to see children as everyone’s responsibility has created a bit of a tempest in the right’s teapot. Allow me to double down.

One thing is for sure: I have no intention of apologizing for saying that our children, all of our children, are part of more than our households, they are part of our communities and deserve to have the care, attention, resources, respect and opportunities of those communities.

When the flood of vitriolic responses to the ad began, my first reaction was relief. I had spent the entire day grading papers and was relieved that since these children were not my responsibility, I could simply mail the students’ papers to their moms and dads to grade! But of course, that is a ridiculous notion. As a teacher, I have unique responsibilities to the students in my classroom at Tulane University, and I embrace those responsibilities. It is why I love my job.

Continue Reading… 


  1. I hate to sound like the tin foil hat black helicopter crowd, but after reading Animal Farm where Napoleon and the pigs took the puppies from their mother because they could be best “educated” by him strikes a chord. Also from 1984, the State trained the children in the Boy Scout-esque “Spies” organization and trained them to be little eyes and ears for Big Brother.

    This is the leftist thinking that says parents don’t have a right to know the curricula in middle and high schools as it relates to certain social issues, and then refuse to allow them to opt out of the indoctrination classes.

    I hate feeling like a conspiracy theorist, but the political left are, imo, out of control and too intent on gaining control over the minutia of our lives.

  2. Wow! That’s scary stuff. I read her “response” and in it she seems plays it off as though she meant that communities “have a responsibility to” kids in the community. She HAS to be a smart enough person to know that there is a world of difference between saying that a community has a responsibility and that a kid “belongs” to a community. To me, this feels like an attempt to say something controversial to gain press… and that’s looking at it in the best possible light.

  3. Steven,

    I forgot about her response. I’m glad you mentioned it. We don’t like to be unfair here, so I’m going to locate that response and post it.

    Thanks for reminding me! And I agree with your sentiments.

  4. Her position is so NOT new, which is probably why she was surprised by the “vitriol” she got in response to it. For decades, one of the arguments made by teacher’s unions to make home schooling either illegal or to require parents either have a degreee in teaching before being allowed to home educate, or be required to be under the control of the public school system, has been that parents are simply unqualified to have anything to do with their own children. Parents are “encouraged” to put their children into daycare as young as possible, start school as early as possible, and leave the parenting to the state via the school system.

    While there are a lot of good teachers out there, far too many have no respect for parents whatsoever and truly believe that they are the ones who should control how children are taught and raised. Parents, in their view, should not be allowed to teach their children because they might teach them the “wrong” things. The earlier kids can be seperated from their parents, the better.

    The adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is often used as a touchy-feely way to encourage parents to reliquish parental autonomy and let the “experts” raise their children for them.

    I am not at all surprised that home schooling is growing by leaps and bounds.

    • Richard Rorty, a notable philosopher who taught at such schools as Princeton, the University of Virginia, and Stanford University.

      “It seems to me that the regulative idea that we heirs of the Enlightenment, we Socratists, most frequently use to criticize the conduct of various conversational partners is that of ‘needing education in order to outgrow their primitive fear, hatreds, and superstitions’ … It is a concept which I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, invoke when we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own … The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire ‘American liberal establishment’ is engaged in a conspiracy. The parents have a point. Their point is that we liberal teachers no more feel in a symmetrical communication situation when we talk with bigots than do kindergarten teachers talking with their students … When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures. Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank… You have to be educated in order to be … a participant in our conversation … So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours … I don’t see anything herrschaftsfrei [domination free] about my handling of my fundamentalist students. Rather, I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents … I am just as provincial and contextualist as the Nazi teachers who made their students read Der Stürmer; the only difference is that I serve a better cause.”

  5. Kunoichi,

    While President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson said about public education,

    Our problem is not merely to help the students to adjust themselves to world life…[but] to make them as unlike their fathers as possible.

    Transforming children through “education” is not new by any means; it’s been a common goal of the “progressive” movement for a hundred years now.

  6. Adolf Hitler also thought children belonged to the state, so she’s in good company.

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