Some of the most contentious debates in American education -- among them what kinds of stories are (and are not) allowed in the classroom, how teachers should teach US history and navigate LGBTQ issues (when there are states that seek to bar them from discussion) -- have led to the resurgence of talk about "parents' rights."

The term is, for a number of Americans, exactly what it sounds like. But therein lies its deceptive risk, because it's also historically been a conservative talking point, and now it's back with a vengeance. For the right-wing media ecosystem, "parents' rights" is now too often a shorthand for a parent's right to control: the power to decide what their child learns, what their child believes and what that child does with their body -- all while preventing the child's exposure to anything with which the parent might disagree.

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