by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Following a wave of parent outrage at finding their children’s public schools pushing racism under the guise of antiracism this past school year, states have begun to ban the ideology. Parents are engaging with local school boards all across the country, demanding they stop teaching racial division and start educating children. The outrage is not just among Republicans, but also Independent and even Democrat voters, making Democrats nervous enough that the Biden administration recently pretended to backtrack.
After more than a year of the nearly entire government and cultural edifice in this country suspending Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed rights, with apparently unlimited submission from many Americans, this wave of the American people’s assertion of their civic duties is heartening. But all the energy being directed into this salutary movement must be directed to effective outcomes or there’s no point.
It is hard for parents to organize. For their own kids’ sake, they need to be in this to win, not just to emote. And traditional political activism is rigged against their success. How do I know? I watched it happen endlessly in the last decade. Mostly, parents lost. The few times they thought they won, they were either being tricked or their victory was overturned within a few election cycles. The education blob is Lucy with the football, and has been for a century.
There’s a long history of grassroots activity fizzling out after being denied effective representation among the politicians to whom they loudly appealed. The topmost recent example is the Tea Party. In American education, this dynamic is perhaps even more established than in politics more broadly: … parents turn out in droves to oppose some leftist education fad about once every decade. At most, they are able to tinker around the margins or get meaningless concessions, while leftism marches on.