Under Threat of Woke Curricula, Parents are Fighting Back | Opinion

Parents are yanking their kids from left-wing public schools at an increasing rate and the problem will likely worsen in the country's most progressive cities.

After more than a year of hysterical COVID protocols that were clearly not based in science or data, progressive educators switched their focus to pushing dangerous and confusing woke curricula on captive young audiences. But the indoctrination agenda is backfiring.

Public school enrollment started a downward trend after a year of unnecessary COVID regulations. Though children are the least vulnerable to COVID, they were parked in front of computer screens for hours a day, isolated from friends and classmates and forced to mask when in-person class finally resumed. Students' academic achievement suffered as much as their emotional growth, with students underperforming on tests while growing increasingly depressed, anxious and angry.

Even when it was clear remote learning was hurting children considerably more than COVID ever could, teachers' unions still demanded students be kept in masks or continue to stay home. Parents had had enough.

The 2020-2021 school year saw an astonishing 3 percent of pupils leave their public schools, with the largest number coming from the younger grades. This represents roughly 1.5 million students nationwide. Now, thanks to newly released data, we're seeing the exact numbers on the local level. They're not pretty.

California saw a dramatic loss of 110,000 public school students, with enrollment dropping faster than it did before the pandemic. At the same time, private schools saw an increase in enrollment. In New Jersey, public school enrollment dropped to its lowest level in 20 years, losing 41,285 students. Unsurprisingly, a Household Pulse Survey by the U.S. Census showed a concurrent surge in homeschooling.

For most districts, dwindling enrollment means smaller budgets. For example, Seattle Public Schools will lose nearly $30 million for the upcoming 2022-2023 school due to lower enrollment. And New York City schools are "bracing" themselves for dramatic cuts if enrollment doesn't turn around.

The best way to attract parents back to public schools is to abandon the woke agenda. But educators don't seem willing to let up.

Florida is now ground zero for the Left's assault on your kid's education. Activist-educators in and out of the state decry Governor Ron DeSantis' move to ban gender identity and sexual orientation instruction for students in grades K-3.

To most parents, focusing on basic academic skills instead of confusing children with nonsensical claims that there are 300 genders that you can choose, depending on your mood, is common sense. But to liberal educators, this is an obstacle to overcome in an effort to change the culture.

Ron DeSantis
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 24, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. CPAC, which began in 1974, is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Progressives know it's a difficult task to bring society around to their unpopular views. They believe the country was founded on white supremacy and its institutions, from education to criminal justice, must be dismantled and rebuilt on their ideological foundation. Progressives also believe that gender is fluid—that your gender identity, whether you're a Two Spirit transgender male or a non-binary asexual lesbian, is innate and fully formed by the time you hit Kindergarten.

But adults have years, if not decades, of life experiences that shaped their worldview. They won't be moved by being called a transphobe or racist for not adopting left-wing views on gender and race.

Teachers are in positions of power over kids too young to have yet formed any worldview. If kids are inundated with left-wing views by the adults they trust throughout the entirety of their academic careers, they will leave high school with the "right" beliefs and bring with them viewpoints that will shift the culture for generations.

But parents discovered the indoctrination in their kids' remote classrooms during COVID lockdowns. They are reacting by homeschooling in record numbers so they can have more control over what their child learns.

Black families make up the largest demographic to take up this school alternative. "I think a lot of Black families realized that when we had to go to remote learning, they realized exactly what was being taught. And a lot of that doesn't involve us," said one North Carolina mother who decided to homeschool her 7-, 10- and 11-year-old kids.

How many other parents were shocked to learn what educators put in front of their kids?

Halloween is racist, say Seattle schools, while Oregon educators claim white supremacy has infected mathematics. Young children in New Jersey were set to learn "how gender role stereotypes may limit behavior" and in Philadelphia, students were told that doctors "guess" a newborn's gender.

Not all parents ditched public schools, of course. Some stepped up to regain control of the districts.

Parents were so disgusted that they recalled activist board members in San Francisco, gave two board seats to conservatives in Houston, voted for a Republican takeover of the Waukesha, Wisconsin, School Board and delivered a decisive win to Glenn Youngkin in Virginia's gubernatorial race.

Rather than learn from these defeats—or just listen to the concerns of parents—progressive educators continue to claim they're being censored from teaching "truths," or claim the criticism is a Fox News-inspired canard.

Teachers can complain all they want, but parents aren't buying it. And if the Left continues to ignore the righteous concerns of parents, the school budget realities and political consequences will only get worse.

Jason Rantz is a frequent guest on Fox News and is the host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle, heard weekday afternoons. You can subscribe to his podcast here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonrantz.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.