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Tag: critical race theory

Poll: Most Parents Are Happy With Their Kids’ Schools, Despite GOP Culture War

Republicans are flogging a culture war focused on public schools, but it doesn’t seem to be landing with the parents of actual schoolchildren. A new NPR/Ipsos poll of parents of school-aged children finds people generally happy with their kids’ schools and teachers, and not foaming at the mouth over race and LGBTQ issues.

Education rated as the third-highest concern of parents in the poll, but 88 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “my child's teacher(s) have done the best they could, given the circumstances around the pandemic,” and 82 percent agreed that “my child's school has handled the pandemic well.” Republicans have largely moved on from trying to whip up rage about how schools have handled the pandemic, though, focusing more on demonizing marginalized groups and arguing that parents should be allowed to micromanage the curriculum. (Right-wing white parents, anyway.) But that’s not getting a lot of traction, either.

Three out of four of the parents polled agreed that “my child's school does a good job keeping me informed about the curriculum, including potentially controversial topics.” Small minorities said the ways their children’s schools taught about the issues being pushed by Republicans actually conflicted with their own family’s values: 18 percent for gender and sexuality, 19 percent for race and racism, and 14 percent for U.S. history.

And those numbers, small as they are, don’t mean that 19 percent of people think their kid’s school is too liberal on race and racism or 14 percent on U.S. history—the people who said the schools’ teachings clashed with their family’s values were as likely to be Democrats as Republicans. A Native American parent in Texas, for instance, told NPR, “It's more of a water-down effect ... [the teachers] kind of whitewash the way that history is taught to their kids.” That parent wants his kid taught more about the French and Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, and about slavery during the Revolutionary War, NPR reports. By contrast, a white parent in Wisconsin who thinks the schools are too liberal on these issues cited her son being asked to identify his pronouns and a teacher making “snarky comments about white privilege.” Equally valid and serious concerns about the quality of education, amiright?

If you listen to Christopher Rufo, one of the right wing’s major gurus on waging culture wars in the schools, critical race theory is a “two to one issue,” a surefire winner for Republicans. Go figure, though: The main poll he cites was conducted by the right-wing Manhattan Institute. But what about Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s victory in November after he campaigned against critical race theory? Well, recent data has suggested that Youngkin’s advantage came from senior citizens, not from the parents of school-aged children, and it’s not the first data undermining the narrative that enraged parents turned the election to Youngkin.

Demonizing LGBT people and foaming at the mouth that teaching about racism or the contributions of Black and brown people oppresses white kids by making them feel “humiliated” might energize the Republican base, but it’s not a majority message. Banning books because they have LGBT characters or depict slavery as the brutal system of kidnapping, torture, and rape that it was is not a majority message.

Republicans are attacking teachers. They’re attacking vulnerable kids. They’re trying to micromanage what all kids can learn according to their very specific values, to the active exclusion of all others. These things matter—they are actively harming people—and they’re also not the political winners Republicans are confidently portraying them to be. The media needs to internalize these things in shaping its coverage, rather than allowing the Republican operatives regularly billed as “concerned parents” in their Fox News appearances to define what the parents of schoolchildren look like or think. And equally, Democrats need to fight back, vigorously and boldly, because Republicans really are overstepping on this.

Printed with permission from DailyKos.

Blackburn Scorched For ‘Klansplaining’ Nonsense On Critical Race Theory

United States Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) on Saturday suggested that American parents are rebelling against the teaching of critical race theory. Then she called for it to be banned.

"Parents across America are paying attention to what their children are learning in the classroom, and they’re speaking up," Blackburn tweeted. "Ban critical race theory."

Gun control activist Fred Guttenberg offered Blackburn some perspective.

Other Twitter users – including parents – fired back at Blackburn, whose complaint can be easily dismantled under some light scrutiny:

  • Critical race theory is not an official component of any public school curriculum
  • Avoiding history does not mean that the sins of the past did not happen
  • An outright "ban" would be a violation of free speech
  • Outlawing an idea is literally impossible

Blackburn has also torpedoed her credibility on issues relating to the Constitution.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

New Virginia Poll Shows Youngkin Attack On Schools Is Backfiring

Republicans are on the offensive over education, seeking to use a schools-focused culture war to take Democrats down in the 2022 midterms, and Democrats are predictably fumbling the response. But while some polls suggest that Republicans succeeding at dragging Democrats down on the issue, they’re also making themselves downright toxic.

Take Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, supposedly swept into office by parents angry about mask mandates and teaching about race in schools. A new poll from Christopher Newport University finds Youngkin’s approval rating underwater, with 41% of Virginia voters approving and 43% disapproving just over a month after his inauguration. “We have some history being made today. Glenn Youngkin is the first Virginia Governor to ever poll with a majority disapproval rating anytime in his first year in office,” Democratic state Sen. Louise Lucas gleefully noted. “He did it in just over a month!”

The same poll finds that majorities of voters support teaching about how racism impacts society, oppose a ban on critical race theory, and think school mask mandates should be determined by health data and information from health experts.

That’s one poll, but the mask portion of it, at least, echoes a September 2021 poll of Virginia and other, more recent national polling on that issue. Similarly, multiple national polls find majority support for teaching about the history of racism in the United States—though Republicans are something of an exception to that.

All that said, while Republicans are not winning majorities of voters over to their positions on the specific educational culture wars they’re waging, they are doing what Republicans do best: making the whole issue so ugly and conflictual that voters are disgusted with everyone. Sowing doubt and fear. A November 2021 poll found significant erosion in Democrats’ traditional advantage on education.

And while Republicans wage a cynical, dishonest, but very well-funded campaign against public education—with the ultimate goal of defunding public schools—Democrats are fumbling. There is so much material to use to go on the offensive against Republicans on these issues, starting with the fact that Republicans want to defund public schools while most people express confidence in their local schools. Republicans want to ban books. They want to put kids at risk through anything-goes public health policies.

Republican politicians support the people making death threats against school board members and barraging schools with baseless legal claims. They want to drive teachers out of the profession by intimidating them and making their jobs harder. These creepers want to put cameras in classrooms and watch what your kids are doing as part of that effort to intimidate teachers.

But despite the impression you might get from the media, which is so heavily driven by white people making noise, there already is grassroots pushback. Black parents have long had concerns about how race is taught and handled in schools. Students across the country are seeing racism in their schools and fighting back. Republicans may have the biggest partisan platform in Fox News, but the rest of the media should refuse to just follow along. And Democrats? Democrats must show another way, or prepare to lose.

It’s time for Democrats to be vocal and loud in defense of public education. Republicans are not going to let this drop. The only way to win is to fight, not to cover our heads and hope it goes away.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

In Virginia, A New Governor's Bullying Big Brother Overreach

I’m so old I can remember when people calling themselves “conservative” thought “Cancel Culture” was a bad thing.

Oh wait, that was last week.

More recently, the brand new governor of Virginia—whose own children are safely ensconced in an exclusive Washington prep school—has opened a telephone snitch line enabling citizens to inform upon teachers committing “Thoughtcrime” in the Commonwealth’s public schools.

“We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations,” Glenn Youngkin said, “and we’re going to make sure we catalog it all … And that gives us further, further ability to make sure we’re rooting it out.”

“It” being the dread Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as Black history. While there’s scant evidence of CRT in Virginia school curricula, there’s evidently more Black history than Trump-leaning parents want their children hearing about, what with Virginia being America’s cradle of slavery, beginning at Jamestown in, yes, 1619.

Can’t have that.

A country club moderate to outward appearances, Youngkin has turned out to be rather fiercer than advertised during his 2021 campaign. And right on schedule too. Book-banning and purging subversives have become all the rage among Republicans nationwide.

But then I can also recall when many public schools in Virginia remained segregated, when my wife and l lived there in the years following Brown vs. Board of Education. Change came slowly. Prince Edward County closed its public schools for five years rather than allow Black and white children to share classrooms.

At the rural Black high school where I was an occasional substitute, they used rocks for bases on the baseball diamond. But they did have tattered, second-hand books, desks, and blackboards—more than could be said for a lot of segregated schools. At the white county high school where my wife taught, she got summoned before the school board to answer a parental complaint about a “dirty” novel—Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”—she’d given her students.

It was the only book she ever got most of them to read.

The aggrieved parent had highlighted her child’s copy with magic marker, particularly objecting to the allegedly pornographic phrase “blue ball” to describe a child’s toy.

The board apologized to Diane for wasting her time.

Then there was the memorable meeting regarding the length of teacher’s skirts, prompting an exasperated assistant principal to remark: “If y’all don’t mind them boys shooting beavers, I don’t reckon I do.”

But speaking of nostalgia, here’s how the official state social studies textbook, “Virginia: History, Government and Geography” described the institution of slavery:

“Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, uncivilized and unemployed Negroes were given free passage on cruise ships from Africa to America with a stopover in Jamaica. Upon their arrival, after their time spent in the tropics, they were welcomed by white people who were happy to give them a new home. Jobs were provided along with a lifetime of free room and board. Here in America, they learned to speak English, sing hymns, and revel in the glory of God through the Gospel of Christ in place of their heathen savagery.”

Oh, happy day!

The novelist and law professor Garrett Epps, who grew up in Richmond, cites another Virginia public school textbook informing children that “[a]bove all the Colony was determined to preserve the racial purity of the whites. This determination is the foundation upon which Virginia’s handling of the racial issue rests, and has always rested.”

Which is not to say Glenn Youngkin endorses any of these ideas, nor that things haven’t changed for the better in Virginia and everywhere across the South. Nor even to say that parents who find the violence and sexual brutality of, say, Toni Morrison’s Beloved too heavy for high school kids are motivated by bigotry. I find her novels unendurable myself.

But Youngkin grew up in a culture marinated in Confederate grievance, as did many Virginians responding favorably to his attacks upon public school administrators and elected school boards. As a prep school graduate who has never attended a public school at any level, Youngkin campaigned as a genial moderate interested in “parents’ rights.”

He has chosen to govern as a bully.

The courts will decide whether or not gubernatorial fiat can override state law and local school boards in the matter of mask mandates. I suspect not.

Youngkin’s “Big Brother”-style attack upon the intellectual freedom of beleaguered public school teachers, however, has taken it several steps too far. Already, smart alecks are filling the governor’s tip line with allusions to “The Simpsons” and Cardi B, among others. Black parents are reminding him that they have rights too.

I think Washington Monthly’s Bill Scher has it right: Youngkin’s “I-know-best” gambit “has all the hallmarks of a misread mandate and classic overreach.”

Most Virginians, I suspect, have little appetite for loyalty investigations, and even less in becoming Ground Zero in a televised culture war.

Everybody Gets ‘Critical Race Theory’ Wrong — Except Most Americans

In 2020, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., included so-called whiteness traits in its "Talking About Race" online portal. The museum advised that traits like "hard work" and "objective thinking" were vestiges of "whiteness." When this created a stir, the museum (which is fantastic, by the way) removed the online post and apologized.

That isn't the way things normally roll here in 21st-century America. No, our more typical response is spittle-flecked outrage, misleading accounts and imprecations.

There are problems with the critical race theory, or CRT, approach favored by some progressives. And yes, it is also the case that some Republicans and conservatives are making bad-faith arguments and blowing on the embers of racism. So, let's attempt a little tidying up.

The laws some Republican-dominated states are passing to curtail CRT and its progeny are bad ideas for many reasons. But the depictions of those laws in big outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are frequently wrong or incomplete. A recent CNN report about Florida's new law that would prohibit teaching methods that make people "feel discomfort, guilt, anguish" mangles the facts. CNN described critical race theory as "a concept that seeks to understand and address inequality and racism in the US."

Not quite, though CNN is hardly alone. It is common to see anti-CRT bills described as "efforts to restrict what teachers can say about race, racism and American history in the classroom." It's much more than that.

In their book Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic state forthrightly that "Critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law." Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility," declares that "White identity is inherently racist."

CRT adherents favor teaching techniques that most Americans believe violate our commitment to colorblindness, such as "affinity groups" wherein people are segregated by race to discuss certain issues. In Massachusetts, the Wellesley public schools hosted a "Healing Space for Asian and Asian-American students and others in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community." An official email explained that, "This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian American and Students of Color, not for students who identify only as White."

In Virginia's Loudoun County, teacher training materials encouraged educators to reject "color blindness" and to "address their whiteness (e.g., white privilege)." Each teacher was exhorted to become a "culturally competent professional who acknowledges and is aware of his or her own racist, sexist, heterosexist, or other detrimental attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings."

Democrats often object that CRT is "not taught in K-12 schools," which is evasive. It's true that third graders are not being assigned the works of Kimberle Crenshaw or Ibram X. Kendi, but CRT-adjacent ideas are making their way into classrooms. New York City has spent millions on training materials that disdain "worship of the written word," "individualism" and "objectivity" as aspects of "white-supremacy culture."

Some Republicans have made things even worse. A conservative group is suing a school district in Tennessee because its second grade curriculum included a "Civil Rights Heroes" module that included a picture book about Ruby Bridges. Other bad-faith actors like Christopher Rufo are attempting to taint many views they disagree with as CRT, which Rufo describes as "the perfect villain."

In fact, large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats favor teaching about slavery, racism and other sins of American history. Eighty-eight percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans favor teaching that slavery was the cause of the Civil War. Ninety percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Republicans believe textbooks should say that many Founding Fathers owned slaves. That is not the picture of a nation (or even one party) that is refusing to grapple with the history of racism. Where you do find partisan divergence is on whether schools should teach the concept of "white privilege." Seventy-one percent of Democrats say yes, but only 22 percent of Republicans agree.

The Republicans are right on this. This is not to say that white privilege doesn't exist, but teaching it in schools may have the opposite effect of what proponents hope and opponents fear. What's the likely result of telling white students, with their varying incomes and backgrounds, that they are the bearers of "white privilege"? I don't think most of them are going to feel guilty. They're going to get angry. They're going to feel alienated from their Black classmates. Teaching like that sets up an inter-group victim sweepstakes in which everyone loses.

The goal of teaching about slavery, racism and other sins is to tell the truth. For the same reason, schools should teach about the admirable progress we've made in moving toward a more just multiethnic society. If we're hoping to elicit the right feelings from students — and we should — then the feelings we're after are sympathy, understanding, and solidarity, not guilt.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Gov. Glenn Youngkin Now Admits Critical Race Theory Not Taught In VA Schools (VIDEO)

Virginia has been moving towards becoming a blue state for much of the last decade. Former President Obama carried the state twice, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and most recently by President Biden in 2020. However, a series of missteps by Democrats allowed a low-key Trump supporter in Glenn Youngkin to take back the Governorship of Virginia this past November.

Youngkin was able to pull off this victory by avoiding former President trump as much as possible and by taking advantage of an utterly baseless claim that critical race theory was being taught in Virginia's public schools. But for anyone not attuned to the partisan lies and conspiracies of Fox News 24/7, it's quite clear that Critical Race Theory is not taught in Virginian schools. Perhaps now that he won the election, Youngkin admitted this in a recent Fox News interview.

Fox News host John Roberts, noting that Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order banning critical race theory, asked, “Is it your contention that critical race theory is being taught in Virginia public schools?”

“There’s not a course called critical race theory. All the principles of critical race theory, the fundamental building blocks of actually accusing one group of being oppressors and another of being oppressed, of actually burdening children today for the sins of the past, for teaching our children to judge one another based on the color of their skin. Yes, that does exist in Virginia schools today. And that’s why I have signed the executive orders yesterday to make sure that we get it out of our schools," said Youngkin.

So it appears Glenn Youngkin lied through his teeth about manufactured fears about CRT being taught in Virginia.

Watch the interview below:

Fox News Lied About Critical Race Theory In 2021-- Over And Over Again

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Over the last year, conservatives spun “critical race theory” (CRT) into a key phrase in the national cultural and political landscape, marking a new battle in the unceasing culture wars. Right-wing media and hundreds of right-wing Facebook groups helped, using empty but dangerous and often racist rhetoric to depict CRT as a threat and energize the Republican base.

Critical race theory is a decades-old academic framework, typically taught in graduate-level courses, that explores how racism is structurally embedded in U.S. institutions. However, conservatives have co-opted the phrase to bash any discussion of systemic racism and racial justice efforts. In particular, right-wing activists have attacked curricula in K-12 classes, where critical race theory is not generally taught. Anti-CRT advocates instead push for children to be miseducated by a whitewashed version of history that ignores systemic racism and the culturally diverse history of the country, including contributions of Black people and other people of color. The push against CRT has also converged with anti-LGBTQ movements, with many of the same tactics used to attack LGBTQ inclusion and specifically target trans individuals.

Right-wing media’s manufactured hysteria about CRT has helped spawn bans on books and on teaching certain concepts in many states and school districts, undermining educational standards for American students. As of December, 29 states have introduced bills or taken other steps to limit how public school teachers can discuss racism and sexism in the classroom, and 13 states have enacted such restrictions. This strategy is part of a long history of white backlash against racial justice movements in which right-wing media have gleefully led the way. Right-wing attacks on public education also dovetail with a larger conservative push to privatize K-12 schooling.

Republicans’ electoral strategy around CRT dates back to at least the 2012 election, when conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart tried to accuse then-President Barack Obama of embracing “anti-white” views by linking him with prominent critical race theory scholars. A decade later, GOP candidates in state and local elections in 2021 (sometimes successfully) embraced anti-CRT rhetoric to sow panic among their voter base and gain support for their campaigns. Hysteria over CRT has also triggered discord in school board meetings across the country, inspiring dozens of recall efforts and spurring anti-CRT figures to run for school board seats. In some cases, right-wing activists and parents have harassed and sent death threats to school board members and administrators, driving some to resign. Meanwhile, Fox News has already framed CRT as a “new hot-button issue” going into the 2022 midterm elections.

A feedback loop of astroturfing campaigns, cozy relationships between conservative activists and right-wing media, and online disinformation has spread lies that undermine public education and obscure the truth about structural racism in America.

Here are some examples by the numbers:

  • Fox News started its CRT narrative in the summer of 2020 and has been hammering it for nearly 18 months. Fox News has hosted Chris Rufo, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and one of the primary drivers of the CRT panic, at least 52 times since July 2020. Rufo started ginning up controversy around critical race theory at the time of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. Earlier this year, he admitted that conservatives have opportunistically “appropriated” the CRT label for political purposes.
  • Fox News mentioned CRT over 3,900 times in 2021 — including at least 900 times in June alone.
  • Fox News mentioned CRT at least 260 times during the week of the 2021 election, October 31 to November 6.
  • Fox News has mentioned CRT over twice as much as MSNBC and CNN combined in 2021.

Here's How Fox News Turned CRT into a Boogeyman

critical race theory

Molly Butler / Media

  • Between March 1 and June 30, Fox News ran nearly 80 segments on anger over CRT in a single Virginia school district, amounting to 4 1/2 hours of airtime.
  • Fox News has also interviewed at least 15 so-called concerned parents -- who are actually right-wing anti-CRT activists -- without identifying their political connections. These political operatives appeared on Fox shows at least 119 times in 2021 alone to talk about CRT.
  • Fox News filmed at least one choreographed campaign stop with a local right-wing anti-CRT politician, passing the segment off as a network correspondent meeting with regular people in a diner.
  • Anti-CRT group Moms for Liberty has appeared on or been favorably mentioned by right-wing media at least six times. Moms for Liberty's co-founder has attempted to derail desegregation efforts in a Florida school district, and the group recommends a book by a slavery sympathizer as a “helpful” text “when discussing the founding documents” of the U.S.
  • From June through October, right-wing network One America News (OAN) aired at least 15 attacks on local school boards nationwide related to CRT.
  • In the four days after the Justice Department announced it would offer assistance to local authorities aiding school board members who were facing increased threats due to the anti-CRT outcry, Fox News aired at least 60 segments on the news.
  • On its daytime programs from April 23 to April 30, Fox News ran at least 12 segments on a false claim that so-called woke administrators in Virginia were cutting advanced high school math classes as part of a confrontation over “controversial ideas surrounding equity and race.”
  • After Fox’s Tucker Carlson interviewed the founder of the anti-CRT group No Left Turn in Education, who has espoused blatantly toxic and bigoted views, the group’s Facebook page went from fewer than 200 followers to over 30,000 followers in just one day.
  • At least 116 Facebook groups specifically opposing CRT have amplified right-wing ideological agendas related to school policies and even organized protests at board meetings.
  • From the November 2020 election through May 17, nearly 90 percent of Facebook posts about CRT came from right-wing pages posting about U.S. political news.
Article reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Inside 'Moms For Liberty' And Its Activism Against Civil Rights And Real History

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Moms for Liberty, a conservative "parental rights" organization strategically harassing school board members, teachers, and administrators across the country, is deeply tied to anti-civil rights advocacy. Beyond opposing education about the history of racism in America, the organization also recommends reading an American history book by a far-right conspiracy theorist that is sympathetic to slave owners, and the co-founder of the organization actively opposed desegregation efforts while formerly serving on her school board.

The organization's staunch opposition to teaching "critical race theory" (CRT) perfectly fits in with its connection to anti-civil rights advocacy. CRT is actually a body of specific academic and legal scholarship, but this group and others have self-servingly (and incorrectly) rewritten the definition to essentially encompass any discussion of race or oppression.

Now, Moms for Liberty appears to be revamping its anti-civil rights movement under the guise of "parental liberty" — a seemingly innocuous term that is really a catch-all for opposition to equity in public education.

Moms For Liberty Opposes CRT

Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich has claimed that the group actually has not "taken a stance on CRT," saying that its goal is simply to "empower parents to stand up and reclaim their parental rights at all levels of government" and that it tries to "support our local chapters and things that they're fighting for."

But a June article in the far-right Epoch Times reported that "Descovich believes that CRT is divisive" and "denies the value of an individual based on the content of their character and their actions." The national group's official social media pages have repeatedly posted anti-CRT content, including "#StopCRT" hashtags as recently as October 14.

As of June 13, the group's website had an anti-CRT page titled "Help Moms for Liberty Stop Critical Race Theory"; it has since been deleted. The group had another since-deleted page titled "Mama Lions are Waking Up" which described CRT as a "nationwide battle that is coming to a district near you" and recommended anti-CRT resources. Moms for Liberty even tried to solicit donations through anti-CRT messaging — "Donate Here to Help us Fight Critical Race Theory."

It appears that Moms for Liberty is attempting to rebrand and wipe anti-CRT resources and statements from its public website -- while its continued anti-CRT advocacy tells a different story.

Moms for Liberty chapters are broken down by counties, and those county chapters often hold anti-CRT events. In Williamson County, Tennessee, the chapter hosted "CRT 101," inviting speakers who claim to have previously taught CRT and now "repudiate" it.

Robin Steenman, head of the Williamson County Moms for Liberty Chapter, vocally opposes CRT, saying, "Critical race theory claims to solve racial discrimination by promoting racial discrimination. It is based on inherently racist assumptions and views virtually every situation through the lens of race." She also described CRT as "destructive and divisive" and "used to plant seeds that oppression and racism are everywhere."

The same county chapter created a list of "books of concern," opposing the teaching of Martin Luther King Jr. and the March to Washington because of "photographs of political violence" and Ruby Bridges Goes To School because of "racist remarks" among other things. The group also disapproved of First Nations of North America: Plains Indians because it "paints white people in a negative light."

Moms for Liberty Recommends Text By Slavery Sympathizer, Conspiracy Theorist

Nationally, Moms for Liberty recommends The Making of America by W. Cleon Skousen as a "helpful" text "when discussing the founding documents" of the United States.

Skousen's The Making of America makes the argument that "slavery is not a racial problem," claiming:

In the history of the world, nearly every nation has had slaves. The Chinese kept thousands of slaves. Babylon boasted of slaves from a dozen different countries.
The dark-skinned Hittites, Phoenicians, and Egyptians had white slaves. The Moors had black slaves. America had black slaves. The Nazis had white slaves. The Soviets still do, with several million white slaves wearing out their starved, near-naked bodies in slave labor camps.
So the emancipation of human beings from slavery is an ongoing struggle. Slavery is not a racial problem. It is a human problem.

Skousen's book is also sympathetic to slave owners, calling them "the worst victims" and writing that "in some ways, the economic system of slavery chained the slave owners almost as much as the slaves." Skousen himself was a supporter of the John Birch Society, an anti-civil rights organization that claimed the "African-American freedom movement was being manipulated from Moscow with the goal of creating a 'Soviet Negro Republic' in the Southern United States."

He was also an extreme conspiracy theorist, as Mother Jones reported, claiming that "a global cabal of bankers controlled the world from behind the scenes" and "communists were taking over local PTAs." Even more, Skousen believed that "the civil rights movement, acceptance of homosexuality, the rise of abstract art and modernism, and the advent of Medicare, Social Security, and other safety-net programs have all been part of a clandestine plot waged by Communists or other dark forces to destroy the United States."

(The group's "Madison Meetup" kit also includes material from Skousen's son, Paul, to use for "discussion prompts and questions.")

Moms for Liberty Leader Opposed Desegregation And Harassed School Board Members

Moms for Liberty has also strategically harassed public school officials, most notably Jennifer Jenkins, a Brevard County School Board member who unseated co-founder Descovich. Jenkins traced harassment in her district, which consisted of violent threats, and even a false report to the Florida Department of Children and Families wrongly accusing her of child abuse, back to the beginning of Moms for Liberty protests during school board meetings.

Co-founder Tiffany Justice, a former Indian River County School Board member, attempted to interfere with and "intimidate" her district's African American achievement committee and was criticized by the NAACP. Justice allegedly took "over direction of committee meetings and altered agendas while failing to clarify that she speaks as a private citizen, using her clout to direct school staff on the committee while ignoring citizen volunteers' recommendations."

The Indian River County School Board has been under a desegregation order since 1967. In 1994, the county's NAACP chapter brought the district back to court over unmet desegregation standards. In 2017, the board had still not met the court ordered desegregation criteria. In 2018, it came to a partial agreement with the NAACP in which the court would no longer "oversee integration of school facilities, the ratio of black non-teaching staff to white, and the ratio of black administrators to white administrators." The agreement also reduced NAACP "oversight of the desegregation process."

After this agreement was reached, in an effort to ensure that the district had a racially diverse population, the board considered "rezoning portions of the district" because it had become "increasingly segregated." Justice opposed busing students in, arguing, as Vero News put it, that it would be "costly and create discomfort" among parents.

Indian River County's school district has both academic and disciplinary racial achievement gaps, according to the district's African American Achievement Plan. The report notes that Black students receive higher rates of suspension than white students and have lower education performances.

Justice has also been an outspoken critic of CRT, claiming that it "creates a hostile culture in our schools and damages students' intellectual growth."

Taken together, the group's anti-CRT advocacy, conspiratorial reading list, and opposition to desegregation show the malicious anti-civil rights intent behind Moms for Liberty's campaign for so-called "parental rights" in education.