Yellow buses are rolling again across the countryside, which means the culture wars in our schools are cranking up as well. Key to understanding these conflicts is this question: Who is primarily responsible for a child’s education and welfare, the state or the parents?
California continues to lead the nation in attacking parental rights while promoting the power of the state. Just this month, the legislature passed bill 957, which dictates that in a custody battle judges must give care of the child to the parent affirming the child’s gender identity. Traditional parents who believe boys are boys and girls are girls will likely be left childless. Meanwhile, another bill is headed for the desk of Governor Newsom that forbids the removal of books, some of them pornographic, from school libraries.
In places other than California, school issues can make or break a politician. In 2021, for instance, Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin faced the highly favored Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor of Virginia. During a pre-election debate between the two, McAuliffe declared, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” That comment likely cost him the election.
In response to these ongoing clashes and the widespread academic failures of our public schools, a growing number of families have turned to homeschool. Others have enrolled their children in private academies. For many people, however, these are not options. Circumstances of work and finances give them no choice but to place their children in our K-12 public school system. Given that most public schools have become hotbeds of indoctrination while failing to teach the basics of reading, writing, and math, these parents must surely feel as if they are throwing their lambs to the wolves.
But help has arrived in a newly published book, Raising Conservative Kids in a Woke City: Teaching Historical, Economic, and Biological Truth in a World of Lies.
Authors Katy Faust and Stacy Manning both live in ultra-blue Seattle, Washington. They collaborated on an earlier book, Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement. Both are married with children. And those children have either graduated from or are attending Seattle’s public schools.
In Raising Conservative Kids, Faust and Manning give parents a step-by-step guide for protecting children from the extremism of the woke left. In the first chapter, they lay out what they mean by conservatism, covering topics like the parent-child relationship, the right to life, and matters of race. “This chapter,” they write, “is intended to explain exactly what you and your conservative kids should be for.”
The following four chapters each address a crucial area of parenting. The main points here are
- “Get to your kid first”; that is, before schools and the culture, particularly social media, grab their minds and attention.
- “You are the program,” meaning parents should be the greatest influencers in their children’s lives.
- The “no-flinch rule,” which essentially says that when their children are confronted with our cultural mess, parents must keep their cool yet stand their ground.
- “The handoff,” which occurs when high school students are ready to tackle the woke world on their own, knowing that their parents have their backs.
Manning and Faust then devote separate chapters to elementary school, middle school, and high school, explaining how to equip young people with what they need to navigate each of these stages of learning without shipwrecking on the shoals of wokeness. In the final two chapters, the authors stress the importance of attacking ideas rather than people and of seeking out the support of like-minded friends and family members.
In his introduction to the book, political philosopher Yoram Hazony, author of Conservatism: A Rediscovery, writes that when Katy Faust first told him about the premise of the book, he was skeptical. But reading Raising Conservative Kids changed his mind:
In their new book, Katy and Stacy have done what I thought was impossible: they have produced a commonsense guide for parents who have suddenly found themselves sending their children out into hostile schools and a hostile community every single day.
When we send children into these hostile environments without preparing them, we can only expect that they will come home indoctrinated. If our country has any hope for a brighter future, it lies at least partially with the next generation. This is why we must make a stand to protect and educate our children—for their future and the future of our country.