A Hillary Clinton activist has received backlash online after claiming that parents who support admissions testing and gifted programs are on the ‘extreme right’.
Amanda Litman made the comments last week when reacting to the results of a New York City Parent Council election that saw candidates endorsed by Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education (PLACE) win a majority of seats. .
PLACE supports academic screening policies such as the Specialized High School Admissions Test, or SHSAT, as well as expanding accelerated program options and programs for the gifted and talented, which critics say lead to segregation. The group also opposes lottery-based admissions and critical race theory.
“The far-right effort to take over schools isn’t limited to battlegrounds or red states — they just won 40% of elected educational roles in New York City,” Litman tweeted.
Litman’s tweet drew widespread criticism, with many taking issue with its labeling of the parent organization.
Amanda Litman says parents who support admissions tests and gifted programs are ‘far right’
Litman worked as a digital strategist for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and co-founded Run For Something, which recruits progressive candidates for election.
One comment read: “extreme right” == people who don’t want to teach math are racist, lower testing standards.
Another added: ‘School achievement is far right? What a strange world you inhabit.
A third said: “Yeah you watered down that label, nobody cares anymore.
“I’m a co-founder,” Yiatin Chu said. ‘PLACE is a group of volunteer parents advocating for rigorous accelerated education, which should be non-partisan. There is nothing extreme right or left in our advocacy.
Litman, who worked as a digital strategist for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, co-founded Run For Something, which recruits and supports progressives running for office.
PLACE endorsed 147 candidates across New York’s five boroughs, and their nominees won the majority of seats in about half a dozen parent councils, as Chalkbeat reports, 115 of whom won their races.
The election was seen as another battleground for a national debate over what should be taught in the classroom.
As the country continues to be divided on the issue, newly released math and reading scores for 13-year-olds have dropped dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.
The average math scores of 13-year-old students fell nine points between the 2019-20 school year and the 2022-23 school year, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card.
Average reading scores have fallen four points over the same period, during which the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the country’s education system, closing classrooms and forcing children to study online.
The election was seen as another battleground for a national debate over what should be taught in the classroom
Responding to the backlash, Litman doubled down on his characterization of the band.
“Lotttta checked the accounts in my mentions very angry at my characterization of these people, but when Moms for Liberty encourages you, I am quite confident about who you are and what children you think are worth fighting for. “, she tweeted.
Litman’s response included a Tweet from Moms for Liberty responding to his “far right” comments.
“America’s parents are coming together across party lines to reclaim and reform public education,” the organization wrote.
“People like Amanda are afraid the teachers’ union can no longer control our schools, so she’s trying to discredit parents and advocates.”
Started by a group of conservative mothers in Florida, the group has garnered national media attention for its efforts to fight COVID safety measures in schools, ban certain books and limit discussions about race and LGBTQ identities.
Moms for Liberty has been named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” alongside other parenting rights organizations.
The co-founders went on to say that “insulting” parents who want to be part of their children’s education as “hate groups” or “bigots” expose more “what the battle is all about.”
“Who basically decides what is taught to our children in school – parents or government employees?” they said.
“We believe parental rights don’t stop at the classroom door and no amount of hate from groups like this can stop that.