Parents: Nationwide, They're on Kids' Side

April 8, 2022

Waukesha, Wisconsin conservatives went three-for-three in Tuesday's school board elections, shutting out the progressive "slate" opposing them. A third of the nine-member school board stands for election each year, with the seats going to the three candidates who receive the most votes. Current incumbents finished in 5th and 6th place on election day; the third incumbent was eliminated in the February primary. "The Waukesha community -- and others around our county -- have spoken loud and clear," said newly elected school board member and Waukesha dad Mark Borowski. "They want change, so we are charged with giving it to them."

Recent elections in the Milwaukee suburb are only the latest skirmish in a nationwide but local war for control of education. When parents became de facto teachers during the unscientific Covid school closures, they saw firsthand how the Left has captured education, and now they're standing up and fighting back. FRC Action Vice President Brent Keilen noted "a host of issues" galvanizing parent engagement. "Critical Race Theory has gotten a lot of attention, but it's not just that. It's masks on students... reopening of schools... the sexuality issue." In response, the Justice Department "tried to dub these parents as domestic terrorists," he continued -- an unforced error earning more backlash than Will Smith's slap.

Keilen said increased parental engagement was first evident last summer in Texas, and has resurfaced again and again in Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (who can forget the surprising Republican sweep). Public schools are even facing criticism up and down the Left Coast. In Florida, state officials were emboldened to ignore the Left's hysterics and pass a law guaranteeing Parental Rights in Education, which is already working to remove immoral books from libraries and classrooms. Key to that engagement are resources like FRC Action's School Board Boot Camp, which help train parents to run for local school board.

Parents aren't fighting alone; churches have engaged, too. "Ten, fifteen years ago, the church was defined a lot by apathy," said David McDonald, global lead for the Third Education Revolution Team. Now, "the church is awakening to a lot of the problems." The evidence is that "moms... are showing up at school board meetings;" time was when school board meetings had virtually no community interaction.

For McDonald, the "fight being carried out for the heart and soul of America" goes deeper than personality or politics, or even ideology. At root is a spiritual battle. He cited John 8:44, where Jesus says "the devil... does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Today's application, said McDonald, is that those who lie about biological sex, good legislation, or anything else are simply behaving as Satan does. Knowing this, he said, "gives me comfort, because we need to remember who the enemy is."

Churches have engaged because education is critical for the church. McDonald pointed out "the first two major educational reformations" accompanied spiritual reformations. Reformation Christianity in particular has always sought to promote education so that every person can read the Bible for himself or herself. As much as the try to ignore it, universities like Harvard and Yale were initially founded to train ministers of the gospel.

Paul exhorts Timothy, "what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). McDonald warned secular universities practices their own model of teacher and disciple, capable of propagating itself indefinitely. If Christians aren't engaged, the secular culture will be. That's why McDonald is partnering with FRC's Center for Biblical Worldview for a webinar on reclaiming education for the gospel (which you can register, for free). The Bible teaches that "apathy invades," said McDonald. "Even in Judges... another generation that comes after [has] to learn these things again."