Steve May 2, 2022
article,-rnc-tweet-distort-biden’s-comments-on-teachers

Quick Take

During an event honoring teachers, President Joe Biden said students are “not somebody else’s children; they’re like yours when they’re in the classroom.” Biden’s words were misrepresented in the National Review, which inaccurately claimed Biden said children “don’t belong to parents” when they’re in the classroom.


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In recent months, there has been controversy over parents who seek more control over classroom curriculums and the role teachers should play in educating students about issues such as critical race theory, sexuality and gender identity.

At an event hosted by the White House on April 27 honoring the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year, President Joe Biden spoke about teachers’ dedication to their students.

“American teachers have dedicated their lives to teaching our children and lifting them up,” Biden said. “We got to stop making them the target of the culture wars. That’s where this is going.”

But in its coverage of the event, the conservative publication National Review misrepresented Biden’s comments. 

The inaccurate headline read, “Biden Claims School Children Don’t Belong to Parents ‘When They’re in the Classroom.’” The headline has been repeatedly shared by conservative groups and nonprofit organizations on Facebook. 

The article goes on to falsely state, “At the 2022 Teacher of the Year ceremony hosted by the White House on Wednesday, President Biden claimed that school children don’t belong to parents ‘when they’re in the classroom.’”

But Biden never said children “don’t belong to parents.”

Biden’s words at the Teacher of the Year event were also misquoted in a tweet from the Republican National Committee.

“Biden to teachers: ‘They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re yours when you’re in the classroom,’” read the tweet from the RNC, which left out a word from Biden’s quote, thereby changing its meaning.

What he actually said about teachers’ role in guiding children is (emphasis added), “They’re not somebody else’s children; they’re like yours when they’re in the classroom.”

Here are Biden’s comments on the role of teachers at the April 27 event: 

Biden, April 27: Because you know — look, these aren’t — we always talk about “these children.” They’re not someone else’s children. They’re our children. And they are the kite strings that literally lift our national ambitions aloft in a literal sense. Think about it. 

If you got to do one thing to make sure the nation succeeded in the next two generations, what would you do? You’d want — I would say, literally, have the best-educated public in the world. Have our students gain confidence enough to know what they can do, to reach in. We have an obligation. We have an obligation to help them teach and reach their potential. 

You’ve heard me say it many times about our children, but it’s true: They’re all our children. 

And the reason you’re the Teachers of the Year is because you recognize that. They’re not somebody else’s children; they’re like yours when they’re in the classroom. You represent a profession that helps them gain the confidence — a confidence they believe they can do anything.

Two days later, the president issued a proclamation declaring May 3 National Teacher Appreciation Day and the first week of May as National Teacher Appreciation Week. In his proclamation, Biden described teachers as “selfless, dedicated, and caring individuals who devote themselves to the well-being and progress of our students.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.  

Sources

Downey, Caroline. Biden Claims School Children Don’t Belong to Parents ‘When They’re in the Classroom.’” National Review. 27 Apr 2022. 

Farley, Robert. “Judge Jackson and Critical Race Theory.” FactCheck.org. 24 Mar 2022.

Jones, Brea. “Posts Spread Unfounded Claims About Disney Company’s Financial Health.” FactCheck.org. 15 Apr 2022.

White House. “Remarks by President Biden at the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year Event.” 27 Apr 2022.

RNC Research (@RNCResearch). “Biden to teachers: ‘They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re yours when you’re in the classroom.’” Twitter. 27 Apr 2022. 

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