MCDANIEL: School board battles highlight need for strong families

Ronna McDaniel, the GOP chairwoman, speaks during the Republican National Committee winter meeting Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

This week, I’m in the Tar Heel State for the North Carolina Republican Party’s Family First Forum. The event couldn’t come at a more important time. For two years, our kids have been subjected to Democrats’ harmful policies. Politicians act as though they’re entitled to your children’s education and know what’s best for them. Our classrooms and school boards have become a political battleground. It’s a war for your kids’ hearts and minds—and ultimately the future of our nation. That’s why strong families and informed, involved parents have never been more crucial.

Just look at how Democrats treated kids throughout the pandemic. They shut down schools, forced our children to online classrooms, and mandated masks for toddlers. The Biden administration even colluded with teachers’ union bosses to keep schools closed. Twenty-four months later, there’s little evidence that the virus poses a significant threat to most students, and the case against draconian COVID-19 policies is overwhelming.

A child psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University has warned that students are falling behind due to forced masking. It “affects learning and development, particularly for our youngest learners” and “provides little discernible benefit.” Meanwhile, speech therapists have seen a 364% increase in referrals of babies and toddlers with speech delays, and the CDC recently lowered their child development vocabulary milestones. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children endure “significantly hampered word recognition” because they’re unable to read lips with masks. But suddenly, with midterms on the horizon and Democrats’ poll numbers embarrassingly low, cynical Democrats are quickly dropping their coronavirus policies. The science didn’t change; the politics did.

When kids are in the classroom, they’re learning that America is irredeemably racist. Last year, Nikole Hannah-Jones—head of The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which seeks to “reframe” American history through the lens of race—received an offer to teach and take tenure at the University of North Carolina after political pressure from the left’s woke mob. But her agenda isn’t limited to higher education. Critical Race Theory (CRT), a Marxist-rooted ideology that divides Americans by skin color and frames some as oppressors and others as oppressed, has infected North Carolina’s K-12 education system. More than 4,500 teachers all over the country have used curriculum inspired by the 1619 Project, including in North Carolina.

Orange County’s superintendent included “Active disruption: Why critical race theory benefits all students” in her “recommended reading” list. The Durham City Council endorsed teaching CRT in public education. And Wake County Public Schools held an “EdCamp Equity” event on subjects like “whiteness in Ed spaces,” “microaggressions at work,” and how to form “Affinity Groups.” In fact, the Democrat majority on the North Carolina School Board is actively working to sow division, creating new civics standards that focus on “inequities, injustice, and discrimination within the American system of government over time.” This isn’t education. It’s propaganda. And it’s turning our students against each other and our country.

Thankfully, North Carolina Republicans are pushing back. In the General Assembly, GOP members have been working on legislation to keep CRT out of schools. The House recently passed legislation defending our nation’s founding principles. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson formed the Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students (F.A.C.T.S.) task force to combat inappropriate or politically biased material. And at the federal level, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis introduced legislation to cut public funding for any K-12 school that teaches the 1619 Project.

But most effective of all have been parents waking up to what’s being taught in their kids’ classrooms. Parents are showing up to school board meetings. They’re speaking out against the political indoctrination their kids have been subjected to. And they’re even equipping themselves to run for office. Make no mistake: there’s nothing fiercer than a mom protecting her kids. Just ask former Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

This is the kind of grassroots energy required if parents want to take back their children’s education. We have a right to be involved in what our kids are learning. And we have a responsibility to hold activist teachers accountable. On Nov. 8th, North Carolinians will do just that.

Ronna McDaniel is the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee