While school districts are fighting over when students should come back to school, other leaders are trying to make sure critical race theory isn't there when they do. State legislatures are gearing up to kick off their 2022 sessions, and a slew of conservatives have one goal in mind: shut down CRT and other radical curriculum in the classroom. And Democrats are concerned their side isn't taking the threat seriously enough.
The lay of the land since Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governorship in Virginia has changed -- and even the media can feel it. With foreboding, they're reporting about the avalanche of legislation set to be considered in the next few months -- most of which takes aim at the Democrats' golden calf: public school indoctrination. Politico details all of the states getting ready for a big push on priorities like parents' rights, CRT, radical sex education, and more. "There is a huge red wave coming," Missouri State Rep. Brian Seitz (R), a pastor and business owner, says. "Virginia is just a microcosm of the rest of the United States."
His state, alongside South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina and a half-dozen more are primed and ready to take on the teachers' unions, school boards, and extreme Left. So far, the Democrats' only response, blowing off parents or dismissing the trends as make believe, has been a huge misfire. In a lot of regions, like Virginia, it's only managed to motivate citizens more. The Brookings Institution's Rashawn Ray insists, "We have hit an ideological civil war that has spilled over into the classrooms for our kids. It's the fight for the democratic future of America that's going to control future elections." And so far, parents are winning.
Indiana State Rep. J.D. Prescott, one of countless legislators making education a top priority, said on "Washington Watch" Thursday that "more parents are paying attention to what's going on inside the classrooms" and, as a result, they're becoming "more and more concerned." "And I want to be careful, [because] I don't think this is in every classroom or every teacher is presenting this. But it only takes a small percentage of teachers to be presenting these divisive concepts and other obscene material to really cause damage within our school system and really push a liberal propaganda narrative, to be quite frank."
His bill, Indiana's HB 1040, puts CRT and explicit material in the bullseye. "It's a very comprehensive bill," Prescott explained. "First off, we define what divisive concepts are and ban them within the classroom. We also ban anti-American ideology from being taught and promoted within the classroom. We create a complaint process that goes through the local school [boards] or through the Department of Education and with overall review through the attorney general's office in Indiana. And the enforcement mechanism is really key to making sure that the law that we pass here is actually a productive law that... can really accomplish our goals of keeping this material out of the classroom."
The driving factor, Prescott says, is the number of parents who contacted him. And talking to his colleagues around the state, he isn't the only one. "It's not just parents from one portion of the state [that are] having these issues. This is really all over the state. So I just want to make sure that's being addressed as well."
One of the things that's helped the GOP get so much traction is the coordination between chambers. Voters have been so engaged that people on both sides of the Indiana statehouse have started drafting multiple bills. Tag-teaming with state senators, the Hoosier conservatives are attacking education from every angle. A proposal in the state Senate, SB 167, would demand a curriculum review committee of parents, teachers, and community members. If it passes, all educational material will have to be posted online with an option for parents to opt out. It also limits how much counseling schools can offer students without informing the parent, so that dangerous ideas like transgenderism or abortion wouldn't be condoned without parents' knowledge.
Taking a cue from Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia, where there's been such an uprising over school library material, SB 167's sponsor, Republican State Sen. Scott Baldwin tries to weed out those problems too. "Blatantly harmful material deemed illegal on the street corner shouldn't be considered legal in a school library," he argued. "I am simply seeking to even the playing field so that materials illegal outside a school are also illegal inside a school."
It's time to empower parents, not sideline them. If you want to help, Prescott says it's simple. "Reach out to your state representatives, state senators, let them know that you say this is an issue that we need to be addressing during this session of the General Assembly." Chances are, your state will be in some form or fashion. Let those leaders know they have your support!