Rather a lot of airtime and column inches are expended on former President Donald Trump’s record in primary endorsements. His win-loss percentage is indeed impressive, though less so if we don’t count those, including many incumbents, who were ahead in their races before The Donald put his stamp of approval on them. Of course, we’ll have to see how these candidates do in November when the electorate includes Democrats and independents, among whom there is little or no appetite for the idea that the 2020 election was stolen.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, almost certainly in the 2024 presidential mix if The Donald does not run, and quite possibly even if he does, has recently racked up some pretty impressive wins himself. In Florida’s Tuesday primaries, 25 of the 30 school board candidates endorsed by DeSantis won seats outright or advanced to the November runoffs. His picks were candidates who have pledged to fight the woke agenda that is infecting so many public school systems in Florida and across the nation. As a result of these elections, conservatives are claiming new school board majorities in Miami-Dade, Sarasota, and Duval (Jacksonville) counties. Many of DeSantis’ winners defeated candidates endorsed by Florida’s teachers unions, political forces not used to tasting electoral defeat.
“We’re not going to be teaching kids to hate this country or to hate each other,” DeSantis told a crowded rally at a Shriner hall in Sarasota on Sunday before the primaries. “We’re not going to let them manipulate history to try to enhance a modern day left-wing agenda.”
At the rally, many participants held up signs saying, “Protect parents’ rights,” which is the critical issue today, as an aggressive Left has captured the teaching vocation (let’s not call it a profession). In too many districts, public schools are using the captive audience of America’s children as putty for their exotic and destructive obsessions around race, gender, and sexual exotica. What the woke agenda in public schools has awoken is a large, potent, angry, and highly motivated new voting bloc: pissed-off parents who are beyond tired of schools indoctrinating their kids with ideas parents find hateful and young students find confusing. I don’t need to elaborate on these offenses here. We’ve all read the horror stories of what revolutionaries masquerading as teachers are turning public school classrooms into with little opposition until now.
Little Johnny knows the difference between a boy and a girl, even if at least one associate justice of the Supreme Court does not. (Hint: it’s the one who was nominated for this lifetime honor and critical responsibility because she’s a woman.) Johnny certainly doesn’t need Comrade Teacher pestering him with her au courant notions of sexual fluidity that she is eager to flog at Johnny’s and his parents’ expense. Just as in later grades, he doesn’t need to be fed the blatant lies that America is a racist hellhole where whites are vicious oppressors and blacks are helpless victims. Or to be assured that a shameful America is responsible for all the world’s ills. Or frighten him with the threat that the planet on which he lives will shortly be burned to a crisp if we don’t turn the running of it over to the Al Gores and Greta Thunbergs.
Historically, school board races have been nowhere near the center of political gravity in America. This is changing fast, as the Left is having difficulty getting what it wants through the legislative process and is trying an end-run by turning children into little revolutionaries. School board races in Florida and across the nation have been and mostly are nonpartisan, though, for those interested, it’s usually no challenge to work out who the Rs and Ds are. The government school business has become very partisan of late, if not officially so, with the Left enjoying a lock on things in most places. But it’s a new day. With any luck, it will soon be activist teachers having to sit in the corner wearing the dunce cap.
A dismaying percentage of Democrats want early-grade schoolchildren to explore recently imagined and largely bogus dimensions of gender, while most Republicans want their children to know what a pronoun is and how to spell it rather than having their children be pestered with a long and baffling list of new and nonsensical pronouns out of the fevered imagination of the gender-obsessed. (Whatever happened to “Follow the science”? Folks who have Y chromosomes are males and those without are female, and that’s it. You could look it up in biology 101 textbooks of just a short while ago.)
So this is one of those happy times when good public policy is also good politics. DeSantis is taking a leadership role in advocating for a needed course correction in an area of our public life that has gotten way out of hand. His campaigning for conservative school board candidates is a follow-through on the Parental Rights in Education Act he signed into law earlier this year. The law prohibits curricula focused on issues related to transgenderism and sexual orientation for public school pupils in kindergarten through third grade. For those who’ve forgotten, this is ages 5–8, a time in life when sexual matters are not and should not be central. And when sex does become central, it will be a matter for children and parents to sort out, not Comrade Teacher.
Florida’s new conservative school board members will not be trying to subvert the new law, which is the very soul of reasonableness. Every indication is that with the exception of far-left Democrats, the mainstream media, and woke corporations, the new law and DeSantis’ other actions to take back the schoolhouse are popular with Florida voters. At least one large woke corporation tried to take on DeSantis and the new law and paid a large price for it. DeSantis is not the pushover some other state governors are when large corporations demand things they shouldn’t. (READ MORE: The Mouse That Got Roared Back At)
In another school matter, DeSantis suspended four Broward County school board members Friday at the recommendation of a grand jury. This action appears to have nothing to do with curriculum controversies but with the grand jury’s conclusion that the board demonstrated “neglect of duty and incompetence” in school bonding and security matters. Broward is the home of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a former student opened fire and killed 17 students in February 2018. Of course, the board members suspended have objected and we’ll have to see where this one goes.
The Broward suspensions and the new conservative board members help underline that safely educating Florida’s children is serious business — not the playpen of activist teachers with all manner of new leftist phantasms to try to infect children with. Politicians seeking public office ignore the growing band of pissed-off parents at their peril.