Jill McLaughlin (Grunewald)
President, Protective Parent Coalition

I am parent, hear me roar.

As far back as when my daughter was in preschool, I started to question the “soft” political agenda in schools. It wasn’t that it leaned one way or the other, it was that it leaned at all.

There was an assumption that all of the parents thought alike—and that something is wrong with you if you don’t raise your children under this specific (and somewhat narrow) belief system. If you strayed—even a bit—from the populist mindset, well…let’s just say that the popular concept of “tolerance” no longer applied. (Mind you, at the time, I was “with” them, for the most part.)

I emailed the board of the preschool to warn against the dangers of groupthink and got a milquetoast response.

Nothing changed in elementary school. Many of the lessons, posters on the walls, messages from administration, and papers that came home in her backpack were politically charged. Why? What happened to reading, writing, and arithmetic?

All of this exploded after the George Floyd incident, which, at the time, wasn’t far from our home in Minneapolis. Of course, it’s not just Twin Cities parents who’ve seen the world—and our schools—change after that fateful event.

Being the white parent of a black child has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. And given the current climate, it’s now challenging me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

For nearly a decade, I’ve read the books on transracial parenting. I’ve attended the workshops. I’ve taken the online classes. I’ve joined the social media groups.

But nothing has prepared me for the dangers of Critical Race Theory, aka “the new Jim Crow.” And it’s baked into the school districts, including many private and charter schools. (And colleges and universities.)

In going down the rabbit hole of what CRT really is and how it’s been “packaged” for what it’s not, I also went down the rabbit hole of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in schools. Together, these agendas are unequivocally harming children and undermining parental authority. Schools have no business indoctrinating children and I won’t stay silent.

You can call CRT by any of the many names it goes by, one of which is the trendy term, equity. (Others include social activism, culturally responsive teaching, cultural competency, global social theory, and global learners initiative, to name a few.)

Unfortunately, most people don’t know the difference between equity and equality.

Equity = equal outcomes

Equality = equal opportunity

Huge difference.

Yet schools’ websites, newsletters, social media communications, school board meetings, and curricula are all about equity, equity, equity.

It was mentioned all over the website, Good Trouble Principals, which, as of recently (October 2022), has been taken down (victory!). (Their Instagram page is still live.)

Protective Parent Coalition (formerly Good Trouble Parents) was created, in part, as the antidote to Good Trouble Principals.

Good Trouble Principals stated that they were a collective of school leaders who are “changing our nation’s future by engaging in better, more equitable educational practices.” Indeed, they’re attempting to change the future—it was nothing more than repackaged CRT. Of course, they’re still up to their antics—they just took their website down.

Look, I’m certainly not saying there aren’t racial inequalities and I’ll fight for my girl until my dying breath, but CRT is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. I know what it is—and I don’t want it poisoning my child’s mind. And I refuse to fall into the mousetrap of CRT adherents claiming that parents like me irrefutably possess “white fragility” or “unconscious bias” or “internalized white supremacy.” Please don’t go there with me.

In fact, parents across the country—of all colors—are rising up and mobilizing against this toxic agenda that fosters estrangement and hostility.

At the same time, other parents—who do in fact understand the risks of CRT and CSE—are too afraid of speaking out for fear of retribution. Not here.

According to Kendall Qualls, president of TakeCharge, “CRT is revisionist history and is transforming our schools—it’s a single variable that puts a race-based lens on everything. The creators of CRT are masters in weaponized language. This is not about equality—it favors one group over another and it is racist. It’s a limiting lens of victimhood that sets a generation up for failure, pits kids against each other, and pulls children down into a limiting perspective of self. CRT contradicts the teachings of MLK—it rejects the Civil Rights Movement.” (My emphases.)

Districts across the country are sending teachers to “anti-racist talent development” training under the guise of “professional development.” It’s a fact that some of these teachers are forcing children to deconstruct their racial (and sexual) identities and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” They separate kids, even as young as kindergarteners, into groups of “oppressor” and “oppressed” and participate in activities like “Privilege and Oppression.”

As a transracial adoptive parent, this makes my blood run cold. CRT could have staggering consequences on how my daughter views her white parents. As many have said, “Your black child will be groomed to hate you.”

According to an MSN article from 2021 that’s now been taken down, “Critical Race Theory is Dangerous, Here’s How to Fight It,” “[People] are discovering that their children’s elementary-school teacher has read them ‘a book about whiteness’ that teaches them how much ‘color matters’ and encourages them to confront ‘the painful truth’ about their ‘own family’— i.e., that they are being raised by racists. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” (My emphases.)

​“In schools and workplaces across the United States, Americans are being indoctrinated with a divisive, anti-American ideology: Critical Race Theory (CRT). Based in cultural Marxism, CRT bullies and demonizes whites while infantilizing and denying agency to blacks, creating a deep racial rift. As Abraham Lincoln famously observed, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ CRT aims to divide the American nation against itself and burn down the house.” – Black Eye for America, How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House

I fought hard—very, very hard—to keep my daughter out of the public schools (for a number of well-researched reasons). But I was gaslighted and working against a system—a corrupt, one-sided, uneducated, and unjust system—that favors the other “woke” side and for now, she’s in “the system” very much against my will.

I’ve had tough conversations—about multiple issues within the schools—with her teachers, the social worker, the principal, and the superintendent, the latter of whom said that because of “how I talk” (directly, as I’m not “Minnesota nice”), he had to record the conversation “for his safety” and said that “it does not appear that you are well.” (I also recorded it.) By the end of the conversation, I’d shown him that my concerns are valid and that I knew what I was talking about and he softened and said that I was “passionate.”

(As my pastor says, “If someone doesn’t like what you have to say, they’ll make it about how you said it.”)

Indeed, my daughter has hidden under the covers, crying, saying that she never wanted to leave the house again because they were reading a book about “persistence” and a classroom discussion ensued where she was told that the police target black people. She thought she’d be shot.

Later, she said, “Mom, they talk about us all being equal but then they talk about race and skin color and how we’re different and…it’s just so confusing. It doesn’t make any sense.”

You’re right, baby girl, it makes no sense.

I won’t take any of this lying down. The stakes are too high.