Education Secretary Requested Letter from School Board Association Comparing Parents to Terrorists

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gives an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss reopening schools in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters)

Update 3:40 p.m.: The Department of Education denied that Secretary Miguel Cardona directly requested a letter from the NSBA in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.

“While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from the NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associates,” a Department spokesperson said in the statement.


Education Secretary Miguel Cardona solicited the National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter to the Biden administration that compared parents of students to domestic terrorists, according to emails obtained by Parents Defending Education.

NSBA secretary-treasurer Kristi Swett wrote in an email on October 5th that NSBA interim CEO Chip Slaven “told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.”

“Should this allegation be true, it would reveal that this administration’s pretextual war on parents came from the highest levels,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, told Fox News, which first reported the emails. “If Secretary Cardona was truly involved in this ugly episode, it is a significant breach of public trust, and he should be held accountable.”

The September 29 letter from the NSBA to the White House, signed by Slaven and NSBA president Viola Garcia, called on the Biden administration to investigate whether alleged threats by parents against school board members violated the Patriot Act. Attorney General Merrick Garland subsequently directed the FBI to investigate the alleged threats, most of which did not involve threats of physical violence.

Most of the incidents cited in the letter involved parents harshly criticizing school board members over the introduction of divisive racial trainings as well as Covid-related closures. During his tenure as Connecticut’s education secretary, Cardona advocated for more “woke” race training sessions for teachers.

White House officials coordinated with the NSBA prior to publication of the letter, according to emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information Act request. Slaven wrote in one of those emails that “in talks over several weeks with White House staff, they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring.”

However, emails also showed the NSBA did not consult its board of directors before sending the letter. The NSBA apologized for the letter in mid-October.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.


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