Education has arguably been the dominant issue in the Old Dominion the past several months. A parental uprising against controversial curricula like critical race theory (CRT), which is predicated on the idea that U.S. institutions are inherently racist, and other social-based theories, was credited as one of the driving forces that propelled Youngkin to victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in November.
The topic is expected to feature largely in upcoming races across the country.
Florida mother Quisha King, Author of “Debunking The 1619 Project” Dr. Mary Graber and former Vanderbilt professor Dr. Carol Swain joined moderator Vivek Ramaswamy, author of “Woke, Inc.,” at Thursday’s summit for a fired-up discussion about what they called an “indoctrination” of children in public schools.
Both King and Swain described CRT as racist and discriminatory against not only Whites, but racial and ethnic minorities. They spoke at length about how schools have been revisiting “segregation” in what they said was an attempt to divide students by racial lines. For instance, King said her local school board in Duval County, Fla., had scheduled a “segregated assembly” with different arrival times for students based on their race, which had been advertised as student “diversity” meetings.
Duval County Public Schools apologized and canceled the event following parental outcry.
King also noted how her daughter recorded a conversation in her first week of eighth grade in which her teacher brought in racially-themed books for what may have been a good opportunity for an academic conversation. Instead, King said the teacher divided the kids up by their identities for discussion, “and the children just started pitting themselves against one another.”
“It was like the racial oppression Olympics,” King said.
A mother in the audience from Manassas, Va., asked the panel how schools could become so progressive over the years without detection, which prompted a discussion about how concerned parents can fight back.
Swain suggested parents need to “train” and “infiltrate organizations.”
“When you stand up for your rights, you stand up for all of our rights,” she said.
King agreed, adding that it’s time for parents to start digging and finding out just what their kids are learning in schools – not just relying on the homework they’re bringing home as a gauge.
“We see the book bags, we see what they want us to see,” King said. But once they “got a peek behind the curtain,” she continued, is when parents know they need to take action.
“We cannot leave our kids in the system while we fix it,” King said. Several speakers agreed, telling Fox Nation they would not send their kids to public schools.
Swain put her finger on why it’s often difficult to debate progressives on the issue of education: CRT opponents are frequently tagged as racist. Dr. Graber could attest to that, saying she’s been called a racist by “1619 Project” founder Nicole Hannah-Jones on Twitter.
“Any White person can be called a racist,” Swain said, adding a line that received a round of applause, “There’s nothing you can do about it, so you might as well speak your mind.”
A teacher featured in a later panel, Jessica Mendez, said she too was an example of someone who had been targeted as racist for simply speaking her mind on social justice-focused curricula.
Mendez, a Loudoun Co., Va., parent and vice president of Fight for Schools, got emotional when explaining how even her neighbor has harassed her and her family over her beliefs.
“I can’t go outside my house if she’s around without being called a racist,” she said of her neighbor.
But Mendez said she plans to hold her school board accountable in the courts, saying several of the members engaged in illegal activity having participated in a Facebook group that complied lists of parents in the county who opposed racial equity efforts.
Other panelists throughout the morning focused on the impact teachers’ unions have had on the perilous state of education. Rebecca Friedrichs, a former teacher, argued the unions were the source of many schooling problems.
“If we could get unions out of the schools we could fix everything overnight,” Friedrichs declared.
Another panel, “Canceling God in Schools: How it Changes Education,” offered an additional explanation for what they described as the decline of schooling, arguing the downfall began in the 1960s, when Christianity was largely removed from classrooms.