Non-profit

Parents Defending Education

Website:

defendinged.org/

Location:

Arlington, VA

Tax ID:

86-1596460

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Website:

https://defendinged.org/

Location:

Arlington, Virginia

Founded:

2021

President:

Nicole Neily

Parents Defending Education (PDE) is a right-leaning organization that opposes the teaching of critical race theory and related left-progressive ideology in K-12 public schools. [1] Founded in 2021, the group has filed racism complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against several school districts that have supposedly admitted to engaged in “systemic racism.” [2]

Background

Parents Defending Education contends that activists have imposed divisive identity politics based on critical race theory, ethnicity, religion, and gender in K-12 schools to categorize children as either “oppressor” or “oppressed.” [3]

PDE provides parents with step-by-step guides to ask questions of school board members and school administrators and instructs them on writing op-eds and on how to talk to the media. [4] It also provides templates for parents to file Freedom of Information Act requests, a guide to parents’ rights, organizing strategies, and talking points. [5]

PDE says its goal is to “empower, expose and engage” parents to combat critical race theory and other indoctrination in schools. The organization’s website includes an “IndoctriNation Map,” allowing parents to look up school districts and “learn about parents organizations, incidents and FOIAs.” [6]

Activism

Parents Defending Education has filed Freedom of Information Act requests with several public school districts, such as one seeking information about the “district equity council” in the Alamo Heights district in San Antonio, Texas, and relating to a “racial equity audit” in the South Kingstown district in Wakefield, Rhode Island. [7]

PDE also filed a racism complaint in May with the U.S. Department of Education against Columbus, Ohio City Schools. This came after the city school board issued a press release that said the district “has begun steps to end the systemic racism that has existed for 175 years within the Columbus City Schools education system.” PDE said if that if true, the district’s admission of systematic racism constitutes a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and makes the district ineligible for federal funds. [8] In March 2021, PDE filed similar complaints against the Webster Groves School District in Missouri, the Orange County Schools in North Carolina, and the Hopkins Public Schools in Minnesota. [9]

Parents in the Fairfax County Public School district in Virginia worked with PDE regarding their school board using federal COVID-19 relief money to hire a private company funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, known as Panorama Education, that would have access to confidential records to about 190,000 students for a “Social Emotional Learning Universal Screener” program. [10]

PDE got involved in a Washington state public school controversy in the Tumwater School District regarding training faculty to “examine [their] privilege” and locate themselves on a “privilege pie.” [11]

PDE flagged Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California, where classrooms contained posters that said, “F—- the Police,” another that said, “F—- Amerikkka,” as well as the American flag draped across furniture in a classroom, while the Palestinian flag, the Black Lives Matter flag, and a Pride flag were prominently displayed. An anonymous parent provided the photos to PDE. [12]

In October 2021, the PDE filed a lawsuit against Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts Federal Court, where they noted that the school district’s “Strategic Equity Plan [for] 2020-2025,” which involved separating students into “segregated affinity groups” and using a “speech code featuring a “bias reporting” program,” was in violation of the students’ 1st and 14th Amendment Rights as well as Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Massachusetts Students’ Freedom of Expression Law. [13]

In December 2021, PDE issued an Office of Civil Rights Complaint with the U.S Department of Education against the New York City Public School, claiming the Lower Manhattan Community School had practiced dividing students into “affinity groups” based on skin color that would discuss racial identity in order to “undo the legacy of racism and oppression in this country that impacts our school community.” [14] According to the PDE, they had filed the complaint from the position of a third party that opposes “racial discrimination and political indoctrination in America’s schools” as well as citing the 1954 Supreme Court Case Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that racial segregation of students is unconstitutional. [15]

People

Nicole Neily is the president of Parents Defending Freedom. [16] Neily previously worked in senior positions for the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative women’s group, and the libertarian think tank Cato Institute. [17]

Erika Sanzi is the director of outreach at Parents Defending Education. She is a former educator and school committee member. [18]

Marissa Fallon is the director of advocacy for Parents Defending Education. She is a founding member of Coalition for TJ and has had leadership positions in the Parent-Teacher Association. [19]

References

  1. About. Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://defendinged.org/about/ ^
  2. Ujifusa, Andrew. “Group Seeks Federal Probes Into Schools That Pledge to Address Systemic Racism.” Education Week.  May 17, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/group-seeks-civil-rights-probes-into-schools-that-pledge-to-address-systemic-racism/2021/05 ^
  3. About. Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://defendinged.org/about/ ^
  4. Schwartz, Sarah. “Teachers’ Union, Education Groups Unite to Resist Critical Race Theory Bans.” Education Week. September 9, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/teachers-union-education-groups-unite-to-resist-critical-race-theory-bans/2021/09 ^
  5. Associated Press. “Why this summer’s blitz on school-board public meetings recalls the early days of the tea-party movement.” MarketWatch. September 8, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-this-summers-blitz-on-school-board-public-meetings-recalls-the-early-days-of-the-tea-party-movement-01631139130 ^
  6. Varney, James. “Parents Defending Education fights critical race theory in schools.” Washington Times. March 30, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/mar/30/parents-defending-education-fights-critical-race-t/ ^
  7. Ujifusa, Andrew. “Group Seeks Federal Probes Into Schools That Pledge to Address Systemic Racism.” Education Week.  May 17, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/group-seeks-civil-rights-probes-into-schools-that-pledge-to-address-systemic-racism/2021/05 ^
  8. Bush, Bill. “Conservative group accuses Columbus schools of racism based on a press release.” Columbus Dispatch. May 12, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/2021/05/11/parents-defending-educatd-c-conservative-startup-puts-ccs-its-sites-call-racism-investigation-based/5044434001/ ^
  9. Ujifusa, Andrew. “Group Seeks Federal Probes Into Schools That Pledge to Address Systemic Racism.” Education Week.  May 17, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/group-seeks-civil-rights-probes-into-schools-that-pledge-to-address-systemic-racism/2021/05 ^
  10. Nomani, Asra Q. “Parents question screening by group funded by Facebook founder.” Fairfax Times. September 24, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/fairfax_county/parents-question-screening-by-group-funded-by-facebook-founder/article_bb51c862-1c9a-11ec-833b-6fff8ebc975e.html ^
  11. Salai, Sean. “Washington state school required White privilege training for teachers.” Washington Times. September 28, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/sep/28/washington-state-school-required-white-privilege-t/ ^
  12. Tietz, Kendall. “Parent Calls Out ‘F— Police,’ ‘F— Amerikkka’ Posters in California High School Classroom.” Daily Caller News Foundation. The Daily Signal. September 17, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/09/17/parent-calls-out-f-police-f-amerikkka-posters-in-california-high-school-classroom/ ^
  13. Tietz, Kendall. “Parent-Led Organization Sues School for Segregating ‘Affinity Groups’ by Race and Punishing ‘Unconscious Bias’.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, October 20, 2021. https://dailycaller.com/2021/10/20/parent-organization-sues-school-segregating-student-groups-affinity-unconscious-bias/. ^
  14. Tietz, Kendall. “Parents Defending Education Files Civil Rights Complaint over Middle School’s Plans for Racially Segregated ‘Affinity Groups’.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, December 2, 2021. https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/02/parents-defending-education-files-civil-rights-complaint-over-middle-schools-plans-for-racially-segregated-affinity-groups/. ^
  15. Tietz, Kendall. “Parents Defending Education Files Civil Rights Complaint over Middle School’s Plans for Racially Segregated ‘Affinity Groups’.” The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller, December 2, 2021. https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/02/parents-defending-education-files-civil-rights-complaint-over-middle-schools-plans-for-racially-segregated-affinity-groups/. ^
  16. Varney, James. “Parents Defending Education fights critical race theory in schools.” Washington Times. March 30, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/mar/30/parents-defending-education-fights-critical-race-t/ ^
  17. Associated Press. “Why this summer’s blitz on school-board public meetings recalls the early days of the tea-party movement.” MarketWatch. September 8, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-this-summers-blitz-on-school-board-public-meetings-recalls-the-early-days-of-the-tea-party-movement-01631139130 ^
  18. Sanzi, Erika. “Schools are deliberately deceiving parents.” The Valley Breeze. August 31, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.valleybreeze.com/opinion/editorials/erika-sanzi-schools-are-deliberately-deceiving-parents/article_915f2846-e937-5447-99b8-a9e34743bf52.html ^
  19.  About. Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://defendinged.org/about/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 2021

  • Available Filings

    No filings available.

    Parents Defending Education

    4532 Lee Highway #119
    Arlington, VA 20007