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Florida mom: Time for a "mass exodus" from public schools after DoJ "intimidation" campaign

Is it time to “peace out” from public schools? Florida mom and public critic of critical race theory Quisha King argued that parents need to create a “mass exodus” from systems of indoctrination in favor of actual education. King spoke the FRC’s annual conference yesterday on a panel titled “Fighting Indoctrination on a National Scale,” and told the crowd that the effort by Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to intimidate parents out of involvement in their children’s education was the last straw:

Florida mom Quisha King called for a “mass exodus” from the public school system, arguing that school officials left parents with no other choice for fighting left-wing ideas.

Her comments came during the Family Research Council’s annual Pray Vote Stand Summit during a Thursday panel on “Fighting Indoctrination on a National Scale.”

“I really think at this point the only thing to do is have a mass exodus from the public school system – that’s it,” King said. In response, she received prolonged applause, and many in the audience rose to their feet at the Leesburg, Virginia, event. …

“With this FBI thing, it just made me realize – what else are we supposed to do?” King asked. “Standing up to these people doesn’t seem to matter. I mean, we have – all of us – we’ve been at these school board meetings, we’ve been voicing our opinions, we’re writing articles, we’re emailing teachers – we’re doing all that stuff. And they don’t care. I’m like the only thing left to do is to just peace out.”

FRC has the entire panel discussion available on video. King begins speaking at about the nine-minute mark about her history and her opposition to CRT, which led her and other parents to protest at school board meetings. As she explains later — around the 29-minute mark — if that’s no longer an option for her, then neither are the schools those boards run:

“The enemy has no chill,” King says. “You could be making sandwiches for your kids and the FBI could be knocking at your door.”

Glenn Reynolds agrees with King’s concerns, although he has a different solution:

Garland’s self-dealing and thuggery are grounds for resignation. But that isn’t the worst thing that’s happened. Bad as it is, the Biden administration’s poisonous combination of graft and authoritarianism can be remedied by getting rid of the administration — something that, if polls are any indication, is eminently doable.

The bigger problem is that school boards all over America seem to be growing ever more authoritarian themselves. Instead of serving as bastions of small-scale representative democracy, boards seem to regard themselves as above accountability to the voters and parents.

It was, after all, the National School Boards Association that, citing shaky claims of “threats,” asked the administration to investigate anti-CRT parents as “domestic terrorists,” specifically invoking the Patriot Act in its letter. …

But it’s a disgrace that such a campaign exists at all and that our public schools are under the control of people who think such a response to criticism justified or appropriate.

As some Americans focus on cleaning things up at the national level, it’s also clear that people need to be paying a lot more attention on the local level. Want to make a difference? Run for school board.

Is the exodus already under way, though? The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools offers a new report called “Voting With Their Feet“:

Public charter school enrollment increased during the 2020-21 school year in at least 39 states, the only segment of the public education sector to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data compiled by the National Alliance. All told, nearly 240,000 new students enrolled in charter schools during that period, a 7% year-over-year increase. This likely represents more than double the rate of growth from the prior year. According to the analysis of data from 42 states*, Illinois, Iowa and Wyoming are the only states that saw even a modest decrease in charter school enrollment during this period. This report does not include data from Kansas, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Guam, or any states that do not have public charter schools.

Across the country, families chose to leave their district schools in record-high numbers and polling from parents suggests this wasn’t a temporary change. According to National Parents Union, 80% of the parents they surveyed said the 2020-21 school year was an eye-opening experience that also resulted in a demonstrable shift in parental involvement when it comes to their child’s education and parents’ desire to engage schools with more input and feedback. A majority of parents want more options for their students following the pandemic and they have no plans to return to the way things were.1

Charter schools are public schools of choice—meaning families must make an active decision to enroll a student in one of these unique public schools. During the 2020 school year, the COVID pandemic forced many schools of all types to close their doors and switch to remote learning. Many parents were dissatisfied with the quality of what was available to their children. And that dissatisfaction led them to learn more about the other educational options available. For many families, charter schools’ nimbleness and flexibility made them the right public school choice.

Of course, not all students left their district public schools for charter schools. Many families chose home schooling. In fact, a July 2021 article from the Associated Press examining homeschooling data from the U.S. Census Bureau noted that from March 2020 to September 2020 rates of homeschooling increased from 5.4% to 11%.2 Some families chose to delay the start of preschool or kindergarten. Others decided to enroll their students in private schools. The reasons vary from family to family. But the unmistakable message is that something wasn’t working for more than one million parents. They voted with their feet and chose options that are a better fit for their children.

The exodus may have already begun, in other words. While public charter schools run under the same public school boards, they typically are much more responsive to parents because of the need to compete for enrollments. And, as the report notes, parents have other options for alternatives to public schools than just their local-ish charter schools anyway.

Another big sign is that enrollment in regular public schools is off — way off:

In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported that enrollment in public schools “fell by its largest margin in at least two decades,” an overall drop that equates to about a 3% loss in enrollment from 2019-20 to 2020-21.3 Leading education news outlet Education Week reached out to 51 state departments of education and found that every state saw a drop in enrollment, totaling a public school loss of 1.4 million students.4

That may not be much on a percentage basis, but it’s enough to spot a trend. It’s also enough to send a warning to indoctrinators that parents have had enough.

What comes next? Expect the organizations with the most invested in social engineering — teachers unions and progressive legislators — to start efforts to block other educational options. They will lecture long and hard about the need for cultural cohesion, to protect against cults, and to ensure educational quality for the next generation. And all that might sound good … if it weren’t for the fact that these entities have been cultural radicals that perpetuate grievance cults at the expense of real education.