When it comes to schools, conservatives are on defense, not offense

Those of you with a heated school board election in your area better buckle up for the next two weeks because it’s going to be a wild ride. With help from their friends in the media, liberal education groups are sounding the alarm about parent-backed candidates for school board in places like Anoka Hennepin, Mounds View, Apple Valley-Eagan and Bloomington. How dare anyone challenge or disrupt the teacher union’s control over local school boards! How dare parents question what’s being taught to their children! Leave that to the experts.

To use a sports analogy, this is about defense and offense. The question is, who’s really on defense here? For years school board elections were sleepy affairs with local leaders taking turns serving the community by attending one meeting a month and handing our diplomas at the high school graduation. What changed?

What’s being taught and how it’s being taught is what changed. Ten years ago, Minnesota school boards were arguing about which math textbooks to order. Heated arguments, but within the realm of academic excellence. School libraries did not contain graphic novels depicting sexual acts. Our social studies standards were focused on history, geography and civics — not creating a generation of political activists with a healthy contempt for America. There were no diversity, equity and inclusion consultants dividing kids into groups based on the color of their skin.

Driven by their leftist ideology, the teacher’s union, with help from the PTA and an incurious local media, has been dragging Minnesota schools in this direction for years. All happening as parents happily celebrated their kid’s ACT and SAT scores, hosted graduation parties and sent them off to college, trade school or the armed forces. (Unless you were a minority family trapped in a lousy school, but that’s a story for another day)

Then three things happened. First, the teacher’s union used the death of George Floyd and the ensuing riots to intensify the focus on race in schools.  

Second, the country saw a dramatic rise the in the percentage of youth identifying as transgender, bisexual, or gay, driven by a combination of pandemic isolation, social media proliferation and a medical community more interested in money than helping kids. The weird effort to normalize grown men dressing up like women to read to children at the local library also contributed to this phenomenon.  

Third, the pandemic hit, and parents got a front row seat through Zoom screens into what was happening in their sleepy little public schools. They were shocked.

That’s a lot of new stuff to throw at parents all at once. And when parents woke up and started to push back (play defense), they were immediately characterized as the offenders. But as John Rambo once famously said, “You drew first blood.”

The parents running for school board this year are fighting against these changes to our system of education and as they do, some common myths are emerging from the defenders of the status quo:

Parent candidates want to destroy public education – that’s an absurd theory since they are running to become part of the school district in order to make it better. Why would anyone spend this much time and energy trying to join an organization they want to destroy and how could anyone actually achieve that mission? Many parents have given up on public schools, including people who ran and lost recent school board races. Some are now home schooling, some chose private schools and some left the state. But the ones running for school board in 2023 want to improve the system for their kids and the entire community.

Parent candidates want to “erase” LGBTQ people – No, they don’t. They just want to protect the right to teach their own kids about sex and sexual orientation on a timeline that fits their family values. Having teachers promoting these ideas too early in a child’s development or putting books in front of them with graphic depictions of sex usurps those parental rights. Most parents don’t care if you are trans. They just want the ability to teach their kids about it when their young minds are capable of handling it. It’s about the healthy development of children, not your feelings.

Speaking of books, no one is banning books. The average school library has just a few thousand books, chosen at some point by a school librarian.  Since no school library contains every book ever written, someone decided to “ban” a whole bunch of books using today’s popular definition of banning. For instance, I don’t see a lot of St. Thomas Aquinas in public middle school libraries — has St. Thomas Aquinas been banned? There is nothing wrong with a process where parents, librarians and school administrators take a second look at book acquisition decisions made by the school. The media always stops short of discussing the actual content of the books targeted for scrutiny by parents because it would ruin the narrative.  Most of the books targeted by parents contain graphic depictions of sex that television stations could not even show on the nightly news. Here is a story about Bloomington from yesterday on Fox 9:

Reaction on some Bloomington Facebook pages has bordered on hysterical, and I don’t mean funny hysterical. This post had over 200 comments in less than 24 hours, mostly parroting the myths discussed above.

Speaking of hysterical, one liberal TikTok creator from District 196 in Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eagan produced a series of videos on school board races around the state. Her analysis is dripping with condescension and ridicule of parent-backed candidates, Christians and anyone challenging the status quo or teacher’s union. One of her cringeworthy videos made it to Libs of TikTok, who shared it with their national audience of 2.6 million viewers.

She responded by labelling Libs of TikTok a hate group and claimed she was the victim of bullying and harassment. What comes around goes around, I guess.

@tallmomrunning A very big thank you to everyone who reached out, defended me in the comments, and just for following. I will not let hate win and I will not let people silence me. #minnesota #mn #fyp #fy #momsforliberty #education #vote #schoolboard #teachers ♬ original sound – ellen

By the way, this TikTok creator falsely claimed in one of her videos that American Experiment endorsed a candidate for school board, which we would never do as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Instead of trying to change the subject or mischaracterize the opposition, liberals should own their new agenda for public schools. It’s their worldview of what schools should look like in 2023. It’s progressive. No one should be surprised by the pushback from parents and conservatives who prefer the old system. In its simplest form, the word conservative means to conserve, or keep things the way they are. That doesn’t mean Ozzie and Harriet in the 1950s. How about we just rewind to 2013 and focus schools on math and reading? Is that too much to ask?