Years ago, I used to poke fun at the usual back-to-school hoopla. “What’s the trendy lunch box? How to get my kids back on a sleep schedule? Where the heck can you find a small, decent pencil sharpener?”
What I would give to focus on those trivial obsessions now. Instead, today it’s CRT, DEI, SEL, BLM and too many twisted acronyms and delusional pronouns that should have no place in any of our children’s classrooms.
As a daughter and sister of teachers, I have been a lifelong cheerleader for educators. As a parent, however, I can’t stay silent about the devastating and destructive position so many of our schools are in any longer. Education no longer exists without indoctrination.
Suddenly, my own children’s principal is telling me the Pledge of Allegiance is “tricky.” A history lesson about what happened on September 11, 2001 was not worth discussing in my daughter’s fourth-grade class last year because the teacher didn’t “feel the same way about it” as I did.
Then came the district-wide survey for elementary students that questioned eight-year-olds about being “non-binary” and needled fourth graders about whether they thought they acted “kind enough” if they happened to finish their homework before another classmate did. I also can’t ignore recently leaked videos of educators in my district strategizing how to “dismantle” curriculum behind closed doors.
Instead of being encouraged to strive and excel academically, our children are being coerced into “safe space” segregated groups to be taught how to recognize and identify victims and oppressors, all in the name of “equity” for all. The state of Oregon no longer asks its high school graduates to prove skills in reading, writing or math — really makes those kids sound employable, right? My native California is also moving to lower math standards.
I do not consent. As a mom, I reject our education system’s current and trendy goal to intimidate parents and unbiased teachers from recognizing truth. I’m finished with feigning agreeability for the sake of being smiled at during Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. Somewhere between Thanksgiving and spring break last year, this mama learned to be brave without apology.
Thankfully, I’m not the only parent pushing back. Just the single issue of critical race theory has hordes of parents waking up and showing up to hold school boards accountable. So, given the chaos in our classrooms, here’s my new Back to School supply list.
1. Do your research. Follow the (few) news organizations daring to report truth and facts. Join support groups that connect parents with information, facts, questions, and talking points to broach with school and district administrators. PragerU Kids membership program called PREP (PragerU Resources for Educators & Parents) is just one of them. (Disclosure: I work at PragerU.)
2. Find your local people. I started taking risks by opening hard conversations with parents at our school who, on a hunch, seemed as though they shared my same values. What began as a group of about five folks last year quickly ballooned into a mini-army of nearly 50 parents, and it’s still growing.
3. Show up at school board meetings, and speak! The night the school board cut my microphone off while I was expressing my concern about CRT, I got emails and texts from some of the most unlikely local acquaintances in my contact list saying, “We are with you.” Add these folks to your mini-army list and keep forging ahead.
4. Volunteer at school and join the PTA. Being on the inside track of what’s coming down the pike gives us more information and access to address school operations, initiatives, and activities. Then, alert your aforementioned army.
5. Donate books and request that teachers and administration examine additional materials. Depending on a woke librarian to restock the kindergarten book selections doesn’t exactly provide hope.
Don’t know where to start? The best-selling “Otto’s Tales: The National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance” is a friendly beginning for the youngest learners. Feel free to continue with Otto’s Tales: Today is September 11th.” For the middle school crowd, there’s a new and hip history show that actually teaches truthful history.
6. Be brave. Speak up against lies forced upon our children in school. Yes, I’ve lost friends this past year. It’s not easy to speak up in spite of potential character assassination. You’ll be judged. But everything is not going to course-correct by itself over time if we just leave it alone.
Do we need to pull our children out of compromised public and private schools? Maybe.
The strife, stress, and ongoing sadness is palpable beyond any of our comfort zones. However: This is our responsibility now. If we don’t dig deep and harness our courage to show up to save America immediately, there will be no more America for our children to live in. That is one truth I never want to see come to light.
Buckle up, because back-to-school now requires a whole new list of to-dos. Let me know if you need to borrow a pencil.