Our strong values, public schools, and why the ‘war on woke’ won’t work

Regan Shaw (picture above, right) is a mother and local organizer with Public School Strong in Union County, North Carolina. She is also a product of our nation’s public schools. When it was time for her son to start school, Regan made the decision to leave the United Kingdom where she was living and move to North Carolina to enroll him.

But now, Regan is witnessing a small minority attack the school system that has served her family so well. The national manufactured culture war has come to Union County. A small but vocal extremist minority are attempting to remove literature from the libraries and LGBTQIA+ symbols from school grounds. As a mother, Regan is outraged that the people waging these attacks would use the county’s very own children and those children’s identities as fuel and fodder.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Raleigh are also doing the bidding of this extremist minority. The General Assembly continues to introduce bigoted bills, to target teachers and administrators, and are working to divert money away from public education into private hands.

Below, Regan asks an important question: Do these attacks reflect North Carolina values? Her answer is no.

In American public schools, you cannot bully people for being different. We have rules so our children do not do this. You cannot bully other children for their race or religion or disability or sexual orientation or gender identity. You can’t ban books just because they have gay parents in them. That’s the law. 

Public schools do not indoctrinate. They teach people how to coexist.  Gay people exist. Trans people exist. Their identity is not a “divisive political concept”. It’s their life. It may not be something you like or understand but you have to respect other people’s rights to be who they are.  

That is the promise of America in a nutshell. 

In private schools, on the other hand, you can discriminate. In fact, you can fully indoctrinate. You can indoctrinate with a religion. You *can* ban books about gay parents. You can teach holocaust denial or flat earth theory. There are no rules about learning facts or rules about learning to coexist with others. Private schools are not regulated at all and, if the extremists targeting our public education system have their way, soon charter schools won’t be either. 

Unregulated schooling is ripe territory for controlling minds, for capturing youth, which was part of the Hitler quote an Indiana chapter of Moms for Liberty recently placed on the front page of their newsletter (to no surprise to anyone paying attention). 

Regan Shaw, Union County mom

Schools can be the ultimate political weapon. That’s why people who don’t like diversity and freedom of thought don’t just send their kids to private school or homeschool their kids. They want to destroy our American public schools and replace them with private school vouchers. In order to achieve that, they foment chaos and division to try to undermine the integrity of the very concept of public schools. 

Last year they created CRT hysteria, claiming civil rights education was Marxist. This year it’s book bans and picking on LGBTQIA+ kids and families, running around calling everyone groomers, accusing all of us, parents and teachers included, of trying to have sex with children. Some even claim we drink their blood, the same thing that was said about Jews in WW2. 

They don’t care about improving classroom materials or teacher retention. They’re fixated on trans kids, a tiny fraction of harmless students who statistically are already the most bullied, now being pushed further into harm’s way. Hmm…going after transgender people sounds familiar to those of us who study history, doesn’t it? 

It’s an old playbook dug up from the dustbins of the 20th century rebranded as the “war on woke”, and it won’t work. You will not use our public purse to suppress others in your quest to create a fascist state as you drool over Victor Orban at CPAC. We are onto the scam and we are fighting back.

Join us Liberty and Justice for ALL. Long live American democracy and long live American public schools.