The largest political coalition in America is not Republicans, Democrats, or even independents. It's parents, who comprise a significant majority of all U.S. adults. And today mothers and fathers are more united and energized than ever before around the defining issue of 2022: the education of their children.
This is a new development in American politics, and a direct response to the multi-year campaign of left-wing schooling policies that can only be described as a woke war on parents.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, moms and dads have gotten a clearer view than ever of what goes on with their kids' schooling. What they have seen is one scandalous abuse of power after another.
First there was the COVID paranoia. For more than a year after scientific evidence showed kids were not at risk, and that school closures inflicted unprecedented psychological trauma and learning loss on students, entitled teachers' unions insisted schools stay closed.
During this experiment in institutional negligence we euphemistically called "distance learning," parents also got a glimpse of the ideological indoctrination that woke school boards and bureaucrats called their "curricula." Barely a week goes by without new and outrageous revelations of critical race theory, grooming, the sexualizing of young children, anti-family corruption, and outright crimes committed in the name of woke extremism.
Across the country, biological boys are being praised for dominating the competition... in girls' sports. Edu-crats are proudly filling school libraries with graphic porn. They're banning the Pledge of Allegiance, re-segregating schools by race, and urging pre-pubescent kids to identify with the opposite sex while keeping it secret from their parents.
In these fights, South Carolina families are on the front lines. The state's school librarians are fighting parents to keep pornographic books on their shelves. Richland County School District 2 bureaucrats removed parents' access to the school libraries' online catalogs to hide their anti-parent conspiracy. Pickens Middle School tried to organize segregated lectures from an "antiracist" propagandist.
Other Palmetto State districts are requiring students to read anti-American, ahistorical, racist texts. South Carolina schools are using South Carolinians' tax dollars to teach South Carolina children to hate.
Even worse, leftist elites have embraced this bigotry. President Joe Biden wants to ban schools from telling parents about their children's gender dysphoria, and to potentially punish parents for not using preferred pronouns! This on the heels of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to investigate parents protesting woke school boards as potential "domestic terrorists."
Many leftists deny the right of moms and dads to direct their kids' education. Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate last year openly campaigned on the issue: "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."
These elites oppose legislation banning CRT or protecting girls' sports and bathrooms. They don't even think parents have a right to know what their children are being taught!
The woke elites in charge of America's education system want to destroy children's innocence, parents' rights, and communities' authority over their schools.
The question now is whether South Carolina lawmakers will stand up to these attacks—whether they will stand up for moms, dads, and kids against the woke bullies standing between America's schoolchildren and the genuine education they deserve.
Parents across the country are now looking for leadership—looking for help. Conservative fighters with the right ideas can deliver it—and now is the time for them to do so.
Critical race theory must be removed from classrooms and pornography purged from school libraries. Lesson plans and materials must be made available to parents. Government must protect parents' right to raise their kids, and girls' right to private spaces and a level athletic playing field.
These reforms are necessary, but not sufficient.
Elected leaders must finally deliver educational choice to all families. School choice is no longer just the civil rights issue of our time—it's the political opportunity of a lifetime and the gateway to full parental control of their kids' education.
Nationwide, 72 percent of registered voters support school choice. Arizona just created the nation's first universal school choice program: $6,500 to every student in the state, every year, to attend whatever school or follow whatever educational approach parents decide. There is no reason South Carolina should not follow suit.
Conservatives have never had a substantive political opportunity like this before. We must seize it and unite America's families against the woke elites conspiring against them.
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek