Every parent understands what a difficult task it is to raise a child to be decent human beings in an economy where low wages almost dictate that in a two-parent household, both parents have to work to survive. In single-parent households the task is even greater and more challenging economically. Whether one, or two-parent households, any assistance struggling parents receive is generally greatly appreciated whether it is school lunch programs or after school tutoring programs. Those programs, like public schools, are benefits of living in a society with a modicum of social conscience. But in America conservatives are portraying those benefits as a liberal scheme to “supplant parents” and indoctrinate children.
One woman has a solution to what she says is a “very disturbing problem” plaguing parents and young children – the nations’ public school system. The woman, Julie Gunlock, is senior fellow at the anti-feminist “Independent Women’s Forum” and she argued on Fox and Friends that public schools are a liberal abomination; because they have the audacity to feed children and offer before and after-school programs. It is typical evangelical rot paid for by the Koch brothers and yet another emotional ploy to keep Americans stupid by inciting opposition to public schools.
Gunlock was on Fox and Friends offering her appraisal of the public school system and portrayed it as a nasty government plot to push parents out of their children’s lives and indoctrinate them into liberalism. She said:
“More and more now these schools, elementary schools are taking on and supplanting parents. They get dropped off at 6:30 in the morning, they get three meals a day. There is after-care. There is even health care services at some schools. So, really schools have tried more and more to take on the role of parenting.
Now we’re seeing it in political issues. They’re telling children, ‘This is how you should think about certain issues,’ ‘This is how you should believe’… this is the ‘correct’ way to think on these issues. It’s very disturbing and parental rights are absolutely left out of the picture.”
Gunlock is a liar. Public schools are not in the business of telling children “how they should think, what to believe, or the ‘correct’ way to think about issues.” They have no interest, authority, or time to do what conservative Christians do and indoctrinate people to succumb to their worldview. It is also verboten to “preach” to students, except in religious schools.
Gunlock is also “very disturbed” that what she called “liberal bias” was seeping into the public school curriculum. Liberal bias in Gunlock’s mind is teaching facts, not evangelical religious mythos and Bronze Age superstition. Gunlock grieved over the fact that some schools were teaching kids that the climate is really changing and that there are transgender issues; she offers no proof that the education system has adopted “transgender issues” into its curriculum, but she’s a conservative and she doesn’t need to provide proof. But even if it is true, parents can take heart because Gunlock has a solution that doesn’t include the poor “persecuted” parents paying for a private religious education out of their own incomes.
Gunlock told parents to read The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. The book has been described as ‘a monastic vision for the 21st Century,” and “the most important religious book of the decade.” The reader can decide for themselves what to make of truly bizarre worldview founded on the fallacy that America was at one time a devout “Christian nation.” Still, that historical revisionism is embraced by many evangelical fundamentalists. As an aside, this is not a broad indictment of all Christian adherents; just the idiot religious right and dangerously underestimated Christian Reconstructionists.
Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth also suggested that parents run for their local school board, in order to “be a part of changing curriculum;” likely to comport with the evangelical fundamentalist worldview. Parents, particularly evangelical parents have no right, and concept of what it takes or means to “change curriculum.” Hegseth added that “far too many parents … don’t understand that even our public schools today have an agenda.” As an educator for 25-plus years in private, public and religious education, this author can attest that only religious schools have “an agenda.” Public schools have a mandate, not an agenda, to teach every child that shows up factual information and skills to succeed in life.
Gunlock agreed with Hegseth that parents have to take charge and added: “it’s important at the beginning of the year that you meet with the officials at the school and say I don’t want this happening.”
These are the ravings of either an ignorant lunatic or a special interest player funded by the Koch brothers’ anti-public school cabal. Although Gunlock’s remarks are patently false and oft-repeated claims by the ignorant evangelical right, she is parroting language straight out of the Koch brothers’ libertarian “propaganda” as part of their campaign to abolish public education.
Public schools, administrators, caregivers, teachers, cafeteria workers and school nurses have no interest whatsoever in “supplanting parents” or “taking on parental roles.” The only interest they have in parenting and their students is that the child’s parents instill and reinforce the value of learning. Those public school officials all have their own families and are not interested in taking on another 30 to 120 kids to “parent.”
And as far as those “meal programs” and after and before school “care programs,” they are not “forced” on anyone; they are provided as a free service to aid parents who have to work long hours for low wages to provide for their children.
It is probably true that Gunlock knows she is guilty of using conservative media to “indoctrinate” low information and the faithful into believing they are in an existential battle with the government for their children’s lives. That indoctrination is precisely what the Koch brothers, ALEC, and all of their heavily funded belief tanks have spent a couple of decades promoting under the guise of promoting “school choice;” what informed people understand is “school privatization.”
This crusade to abolish the public education system and replace it with privatization and taxpayer-funded evangelical madrassas has never presented as big of a threat as it does today. Whether it is Trump letting the Heritage Foundation select raging evangelical Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary to “advance the kingdom of god,” or sycophants like Gunlock fearmongering about indoctrination and “free lunches,” there is a concerted effort to dismantle public education being funded by the Kochs and perpetrated by Trump’s evangelical underlings.