Retiring Miami-Dade School Board chair sends governor a parting gift: ‘Pfft’

A week after banning two sex ed books, the board approves them

In a striking reversal, Miami-Dade School Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman — who has been forced into retirement by a GOP-backed challenge — restored two sexual education books to the middle and high school curriculum only one week after she had voted to ban them.

What made her change her mind? Was it the hundreds of emails and phone calls she got from constituents telling her to stay out of the curriculum? Was it the 2,800-plus petition signers who said these books and even the “questionable” material was necessary to our children’s education and growth as responsible adults? Was it careful introspection that caused Tabares Hantman to about face and cast a completely different vote Thursday?

Or was it a message to the Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, who have encouraged and helped fund challengers to Tabares Hantman and School Board Member Marta Perez, both Republicans, because they didn’t toe the line on face masks.

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It was nice to watch Perla — who decided to retire rather than play to an ugly race — stand up Thursday and flash her independence (read: snub the guv) before she goes. That swayed the vote from 5-4 in favor of the ban to 5-4 in favor of using the books, which both staff and an independent review had already studied and found appropriate.

In fact, both books were approved for use by the school board in April.

It’s the correct decision for so many reasons.

Because we’re not talking about first graders, here. We’re talking about middle and high school students, many of whom are sexually active, whether their parents want to accept it or not.

Because they may as well know what they’re doing.

Because an overwhelming majority of parents have expressed that they want their kids to have the best education, including sexual education.

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Because parents who object can always opt out of sex ed class if they find it too progressive for their children.

And because that’s a true example of parental rights. It is not parental rights to deprive other parents the right to have their kids fully educated.

Gracias, Perla. For whatever reason you changed your mind.