Following Trump’s lead, a grassroots movement has forced the GOP to fight.
Make Them Say It
Conservatives need to force radical educators into being honest about their perverse aims.
A line has been drawn in the sand. On one side are the radicals shoving leftist dogma down the throats of their pupils; on the other side are parents and patriots fighting to save the children and America. The pro-America side is gaining steam and adherents, and the opposition is noticing. Which means now is not the time to lose nerve. It is time to double down.
COVID shutdowns gave parents a front-row seat to the blatant racial and sexual indoctrination their children had been exposed to for the past few years. When they raised concerns, parents were told CRT is only taught at the university level. They were told that their kids were only being taught to be kind and tolerant to others of different views or sexual preferences. But they could see with their own eyes that this was a lie.
There are now books in schools so explicit you could be arrested and charged with a felony if you gave them to a minor. But thanks to an exemption in the law, schools in 43 states get away with teaching this material. Groups began to organize and show up at school board meetings to protest, using the powerful tactic of simply reading the books in question to the members and forcing them to confront their own agenda. There is a key lesson here: to win this fight, we have to force the radicals to confront and admit what they are really up to.
When you do that long enough, they stop lying and start attacking you. Eventually, the school board radicals switched from “that’s not happening” to “it’s good that it is.” The new strategy has been to call parents racist, oppressive, out-of-touch terrorists. We all know this game. Once the opposition is backed into a corner with facts, they call names. Our response should be simple: ignore the labels and keep charging forward.
Nowhere have the ideologues shown their true colors more clearly than in Florida, in response to a bill banning inappropriate classroom discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation for children in kindergarten through third grade. The real content of the bill should be perfectly acceptable to any adult who does not want children sexualized. But that did not stop the opposition from mounting the totally dishonest “Don’t Say Gay” campaign.
The lawmakers and teachers who participated in this campaign pretended that the bill made it illegal to discuss homosexuality at any grade level or in any context. It was an attempt to position themselves as the good guys by obscuring what they were really advocating. But in plain terms, they were fighting for the right to teach transgender ideology to five-, six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds. To win on this, we have to make clear what our opponents actually want.
Florida is leading the way as a voice for parents, providing a roadmap to navigate this monstrosity. Governor Ron DeSantis repeatedly forced reporters to admit what was really in the bill, and he held fast when powerful players tried to get him to blink.
For example, Disney CEO Bob Chapek called DeSantis to declare he would be signing the Human Rights Campaign’s statement opposing these the bill. Now, HRC is the creator of “Welcoming Schools,” a professional development program which provides training and resources to elementary school educators. One training resource they provide is a document explaining how to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation with kids in kindergarten through third grade.
The document has a section labeled “who you love” with definitions for bisexual, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and pansexual. A section labeled “gender” defines gender expansive, gender expression, gender binary, and sex assigned at birth. “Welcoming Schools” also has a resource titled “Who Can Marry Whom? Inclusive Conversations About Marriage” which states “It is our job as educators to talk about diverse families and relationships with elementary students and to provide them with mirrors of their own lives so they can develop healthy identities as well as provide windows into other lives so that they become global citizens who embrace differences. It is important to teach your students about many different kinds of families, whether those particular families are present in your school or not.”
It is to DeSantis’s enormous credit that he saw through this intimidation campaign and held fast to the truth of who these people really are. He signed the bill even despite a nationwide smear campaign and major industry leaders trying to jawbone him. Not every red-state governor has been so bold. But we ought to demand that they follow DeSantis’s lead, or make way for others that can.
Behind the Acronyms
Of course, it’s not just about sex ed. Racial indoctrination carries on apace in public schools across the country. Many states have passed (or introduced) legislation banning CRT from being taught in public schools. Unfortunately, the bills are falling short of stopping the Marxist brainwashing from taking over the system. The machinery of indoctrination is too subtle and carefully constructed to vanish overnight. Conservatives need to understand that the fight goes beyond CRT.
That means it’s important for ordinary parents to be equipped with the right terminology so they can see past the Left’s euphemisms to the horrors beneath. One of the biggest menaces to American children in public (and some private) schools is called Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
Social Emotional Learning is explained by administrators and teachers as a way to teach children empathy, manage emotions, and build healthy relationships. The innocuous language of SEL disguised the real agenda for a long time. In fact it means eschewing facts and academics in favor of ritualized induction into new social norms. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic have been replaced with activism lessons, pornographic literature, and gender/sexuality clubs. Children, labeled “human subjects,” are now part of a massive government experiment to manufacture social justice warriors.
Unfortunately, in 2022, SEL is gripping our entire education system. It’s even pushing its way into children’s homes and communities. If CRT is the ideology and DEI is the marketing slogan, SEL is the delivery system.
The extremist views that have saturated the education system are corrupting our children. This is what our founding fathers warned us about. We can no longer look the other way and hope someone else will do something about it. It is our time to fight for what is right; the American mind depends on it.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.