A grassroots revolt in the bluest of blue states against an entrenched “woke” educational bureaucracy and teachers unions is a sign how the movement is sweeping the nation.
For most of the past year, the left has vigorously denied that critical race theory (CRT) was a “real” phenomenon in America’s government-run public school systems. According to their narrative, CRT was “fake” news, nothing more than right-wing propaganda.
Here in Rhode Island, following suit, state education officials and local school committee members – as well as their defenders in the media – also publicly denied that CRT was being taught in local school districts. In trying to obfuscate the truth … the critical theorists openly admit they are all about diversity, seeking to end the systematic racism they imagine is present in their schools; yet they are unable to produce any concrete examples and are unwilling to answer more specific curriculum questions from parents.
But in early July, the two major national teacher unions blew the left’s cover, openly admitting, and even doubling down on their desire to see divisive race theories advanced in K-12 education; a zeal that includes researching and harassing – potentially even taking legal action against – organizations that challenge the indoctrination of students with racial stereotyping. The malicious cat we all knew was there … was let out of the bag.
In the town of South Kingstown, the local school committee publicly threatened to file a lawsuit against a mother, Nicole Solas, who allegedly filed too many open records requests.
In the Chariho regional school district a black father who spoke out against CRT was led out of the local school board meeting in handcuffs, ostensibly, for not wearing a mask. In the town of Westerly, a resident, who dared to submit a resolution to ban the teaching of racial-equity principles, became the victim of a pre-orchestrated public-meeting hit job by the local teachers union in conjunction with brainwashed students and other race theorists, all sanctioned by the superintendent and school committee chair.
And it’s not just about radical race theories – it’s a revolt against the entire pervasive “woke” agenda. Parents are further outraged at the many non-science-based and over-bearing Covid-19 protocols and mandates, the gender-equity agenda, as well as at the over-sexualization of their children in public schools. In one example, the RI Department of Health illegally declared that high school students aged 16-18 were “emancipated” from their parents and could unilaterally choose to “get the jab” at one of the hastily assembled school-based vaccine clinics; students would be subjected to coercion from school teachers and staff and to pressure from their peers … but away from the influence of their parents.
I have had the honor of working with and interviewing many of the leaders of these parent groups on my video blog show, In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse. In February, the first such group I became aware of was Rise Up RI, a parent group outraged that their student-athlete children were forced to take an experimental (EUA) and invasive Covid test every week, if they were to be cleared to participate in spring outdoor sports.
Within the ensuing weeks and months, as the critical race theory issue gained national attention, and as it became clear that vaccines passports and masking was to be part of the fall school regimen, dozens of parent groups popped and started making noise all over our state: Unmask our Children RI, RI Parents Against Indoctrination, North Kingstown Parents Against Indoctrination, Westerly Residents Against Indoctrination, Chariho Community Fight Critical Race Theory in our Schools, Health Choice Rhode Island, Portsmouth Concerned Citizens, Lil Rhodies Against Mandates … and the list goes on – each with hundreds if not thousands of followers.
Most recently, I interviewed a mother of school-age children who is also a Providence school teacher. She provided stunning visual evidence what CRT actually looks like in schools … book covers and titles, posters, photos, emails describing race-segregated teacher development ‘affinity-groups’, etc.
And across America and in Rhode Island … parents are winning! In South Kingstown, the Chair of the school committee stepped down from her leadership position under pressure, before eventually being forced to resign, as did the school district superintendent, along with another school board member who just happened to be a teacher union executive for the RI National Education Association. Parents are putting the pressure on, demanding transparency and accountability, with more victories sure to be on the way.
And it’s not hard to understand why Ocean State parents are seething mad. Parents simply want their kids free from special-interest politics when in school. But, from union-demanded school mask mandates, vaccination passports, political mailers to young students, inappropriate sex-education materials, radical gender and identity politics concepts … and, now, to the divisive poison of inculcating our kids with critical race theory principles … parental rights are under assault. Right before our eyes, public schools are being transformed into a political tool of the far-left and other special interest groups.
This trend of indoctrinating our children with anti-American Marxist propaganda and the imposition of non-science-based medical mandates that may actually cause harm to students – both pushed by special interest teacher unions – is a bridge too far.
Parents are rising-up and taking matters into their own hands … literally. One ramification may be a rapid rise in parents exercising whatever educational freedoms that may be available to them – homeschooling their children or escaping public schools by enrolling their kids in private schools. There are already reports of declining public school enrollments for the fall semester.
If government-run public schools are to be perpetually politicized, the demand by parents for more school choice options will perpetually increase. Teacher unions may unwittingly be writing their own epitaphs.
And because, once again, the left has over-played its hand, whatever anti-Trump “suburban” votes the Democrats may have gained in the 2020 election, they may lose two-three times over in 2022 and beyond from outraged parents who are just now becoming “awakened” to the true agenda of the totalitarian-left.
Across the nation, and maybe even here in the deep blue Ocean State, the seething “red” parents are experiencing might result in an electoral ‘red tide’ next year.
[Featured Image: 10 News Video]
Mike Stenhouse is CEO of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity and one of Rhode Island’s leading conservative voices. With a degree in Economics from Harvard University, Stenhouse went on to have an eight-year pro baseball career and was a member of the 1986 American League Champion Boston Red Sox.DONATE
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