Don't expect truce in Left's war on parents, says education analyst

Don't expect truce in Left's war on parents, says education analyst

A t-shirt sold by the DeSantis presidential campaign suggests the Republican candidate is well aware of the left-wing war on parental rights. An education analyst traces the war on woke to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Don't expect truce in Left's war on parents, says education analyst

The Associated Press this week declared "Mama Bears" could swing the 2024 presidential election but that wasn’t necessarily a compliment from the liberal wire service.

The same story cast groups like Moms for Liberty, which has opposed transgender curriculums and has stood up for irate parents, as extremists used by Republicans to further a right-wing agenda.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for education studies with the Family Research Council, says there is a reason the Left is panicking. Fed-up conservative parents are finally speaking out which has drawn the attention of the Left, she says, and that left-wing pushback will only increase.

Kilgannon, Meg (FRC) Kilgannon

“They’re afraid that we're going to find out that there is an effort to indoctrinate our children into a progressive worldview," Kilgannon said on Washington Watch Monday. "They know that this is something that most parents don't agree with. They don't think we should be able to say what our children are taught, but they also don't think we should be able to know what our children are taught." 

In an attack on parents’ rights, the administration of New Jersey Democratic governor Phil Murphy has sued three local school districts for adopting policies to tell parents if their children, while at school, are showing signs of changing their gender identity.

“We took these actions because it’s the right thing to do to protect these precious young people,” Murphy told CBS News this week. 

Reacting to his governor's war on parents, conservative activist Gregory Quinlan tells AFN "no one" is more disconnected from reality in New Jersey than the Democrat governor.

"Mr. Murphy is sexually exploiting children. He is putting children in harm's way, says Quinlan. "He is dividing and destroying families because that's what Phil Murphy does best." 

Virginia became a hot spot for parental-rights issues in public schools in its 2021 governor’s race, when Democratic incumbent Terry McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Thanks to support from outraged parents, Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin narrowly defeated McAuliffe in an upset win, but McAuliffe’s liberal theories on education still had the backing of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. He infamously instructed the FBI to investigate parents at school board meetings.

COVID-19 pandemic exposed the classroom 

Ironically, this rise in consciousness for parents relative to public education came about due in part to a favorite COVID-19 response by the Left: school closings. Up until then, Kilgannon recalled, busy parents were kept in the dark and trusted their children's teachers .

"They're checking the homework maybe, but as far as what goes on in the classroom, we're not there to see it, right?" she said. "But then the pandemic happened, and we were able to see it. And we didn't like it." 

Moms For Liberty can be traced back to the pandemic and to frustated parents. It was started in 2020 by Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice, who were both Florida public school members at the time. Both witnessed parental frustration over closed schools and forced mask wearing. Both women also saw how parents were ignored and mocked by school board members and vowed to stand up for the parents who were standing up for their kids.

Moms for Liberty was named a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center earlier this year, which is supposed to be a mark against it, but the designation has become a badge of honor for conservative groups that recognize the SPLC views them as a threat.  

Kilgannon says conservative parents who run for school board, often political newcomers, often find themselves at odds with school board attorneys right off the bat.

“When we train candidates to run, and they win, one of the first questions that we often get from them is how do I fire the general counsel on my school board? Because they're giving me bad advice,” Kilgannon said.

“That goes to this legal issue: There is a progressive legal movement in this country which is advising school boards to go along with every fake civil rights agenda, every sexual civil rights agenda for children, that can be thought up, and this is simply not okay with most parents," she remarked. "Even parents who disagree politically do agree that we shouldn’t sexualize children.”

Turning away from advice offered by a trained professional is not an easy thing for many parents. The first impulse is to trust someone from your community who dresses nice and says they want to protect children just like you.

“So when Phil Murphy comes on to CBS and says, ‘You know, isn't this great? We're just defending peoples' civil rights. There’s a group of people who want to believe him," Kilgannon said. "Who very desperately need to believe that's true, and they do believe that's true, but we know that he's not honest."

DeSantis campaign woos 'every mama'

The Mama Bears – without the bears -- are a key part of the campaign strategy for Ron DeSantis as they’re displayed prominently on his website.

Supporters have a chance to join the "Mamas for DeSantis" group which launched in Iowa recently and is headed by the Florida governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis.

“As the mom and dad of young children, Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis know that when parents are engaged, America prospers. We need every mama and every grandmama in every corner of the country to stand up and fight back by electing Ron DeSantis president of the United States of America,” the campaign writes.

Moms are less visible on Donald Trump’s campaign website.

'Mama Bears' not an insult

Going back to the AP story, Kilgannon says the "Mama Bears" label is meant to be derisive by the Left, which is a typical name-calling tactic to shame and insult a political enemy. 

“The easiest thing to do with people you don't agree with is to call them crazy, to call them a liar, to call them names like extremist and racist," Kilgannon observed. "And so that's what this is an effort to do."

Looking ahead, however, she predicts that effort won't work in the future because it is not working now. 

“And it’s going to last throughout the election cycle," the election analyst predicted, "because there’s too much evidence against them that is easily seen and undeniable.”