“By now, it’s obvious that the reactionary culture warriors who want to reshape American education are inspiring a serious liberal counter-mobilization in response,” Sargent and Waldman write in an opinion piece for The Post published under the headline “In a deep red Florida county, a student-teacher revolt shames the right.”
“Remarkably, this backlash to the backlash is gaining momentum in some of the reddest parts of the country.”
The meeting was held in Hernando County, which DeSantis won by 41 points, and which has become the focus of national media attention after fifth-grade teacher Jenna Barbee showed her class the Disney film “Strange World,” which features an openly gay character.
The Florida Department of Education is investigating Barbee over whether she violated the state’s new “don’t say gay” law that bans instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation.
Sargent and Waldman write that “The scene featured teachers pointedly declaring that right-wing attacks are driving them to quit, even as parents and students forcefully stood up on their behalf, demanding a halt to the hysteria.”
Barbee is resigning from the Hernando County School District and she isn’t alone, according to the report.
“No one is teaching your kids to be gay,” Alyssa Marano, a math teacher who has resigned from the district, said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Sometimes, they just are gay. I have math to teach. I literally don’t have time to teach your kids to be gay.”
Sargent and Waldman write that “the real story of the night was the response. Again and again, parents and students forcefully defended teachers. They cast the right’s attacks, the censoring of educators and the removal of books as the real threats to education.”
“War on woke?” one student said. “More like war on your children’s future.”
Sarah Jones writes for New York Magazine that the blowback to far-right efforts to shape education seen at the Hernando County district are happening throughout the country, as “liberal parents in states as far-flung as New York, North Carolina and Montana are organizing local groups, pressuring school boards and running for office to challenge the right’s education takeover.”
“Just as a car wreck commands attention, the ugliness of right-wing culture-warring often transfixes the news media,” Sargent and Waldman write.
“But another story is beckoning: Ordinary parents everywhere and their elected representatives are responding, and declaring that they’ve had enough.”
Read the full article here.