In his new best-selling book titled “Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation”, Pete Hegseth exposes how American schools have strategically been transformed into leftist indoctrination camps over the course of the last century.
According to Hegseth, “The real battle isn’t colleges; it’s kindergartens.” Colleges in the U.S. have been consistently affiliated with left-wing principles, and it is a known fact that modern campuses largely promote radical progressive ideologies as opposed to accurately representing all viewpoints. However, this is not the case with kindergarten, nor should it be. American parents have always felt as if they could safely send their children to primary school without fear of them being exposed to reprehensible leftist teachings. Sadly, this has changed in recent years as curricula for children aged as young as 5-years-old have begun to include elements of critical race theory, gender theories, and anti-American teachings.
This is not proper education. Not only are these kinds of curriculums age-inappropriate, but they are essentially exclusive to America. While other competing nations send their children to learn about growing industries, how to become fluent in numerous languages, or the positive elements of their nation’s history, American children are now being dumbed-down by being forced to focus on trivial subjects that have virtually no meaning in most of society.
Instead of students developing their beliefs and skills throughout college or their life experiences, students now show up to their first day of college with a radical leftist worldview that has been artificially created and is ready to be further influenced throughout the student’s college years. Hegseth brilliantly describes K-12 education in America today as a “16,000-hour war.” To quote Hegseth, “The battlefield for the hearts and minds of our kids is the 16,000 hours they spend inside American classrooms from kindergarten to twelfth grade…It’s the 16,000-hour war, for our kids and our country.”
Leftists have a comprehensive advantage in this war due to their strategic actions over the last century. In alignment with the malignant intentions of the Soviet Union, Democrats have spent the majority of the last century focusing on dominating education, both at colleges or universities and in K-12 schools. Viewing the situation as a war from day one, those on the left understood that the implementation of their agenda would need to occur incrementally. If America’s educational system were to radically change overnight, parents and students would rightfully resist. By enacting their agenda largely through stealth, Democrats were able to get their way with little resistance from parents, who were mostly unaware of the extent of left-wing indoctrination efforts up until 2020. As students were forced to take their classes remotely throughout the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents were finally able to see firsthand what was going on within their child’s classroom. For many parents, remote schooling served as a wake-up call. As parents heard the language used within their child’s classroom, many decided to pull their children from public schools entirely and homeschool them. During the 2020–2021 school year, the number of homeschooled students rose by a whopping 63%. For the first time, concerned parents across America are viewing the public K-12 educational process as a war, just as leftists have been doing for years.
A key element of the battle for the American mind is the destruction of the family itself. Since families are one of the entities most likely to defy modern leftist teachings and ideologies, it is critical for them to be labeled as enemies of the state. Instead of parents being the primary decision-makers for their children, modern leftists want the state to have that power. Rather than children belonging to their families, Democrats have continuously claimed that children belong to entire communities. According to former MSNBC host and current Wake Forest University professor Melissa Harris-Perry, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” This sentiment is prevalent at K-12 schools throughout America.
The current strategy of those on the left is similar to the tactics deployed by the Soviet Union. In 1922, Vladimir Lenin coined the term “commanding heights.” Put simply, the term refers to control over the important elements of a system. In Soviet Russia, Stalin did not need to control every aspect of the economy. Instead, he was able to effectively seize economic control by exerting immense power over critical industries such as energy or manufacturing. Likewise, leftists in America have created a “commanding heights” educational system. Rather than controlling every element of the educational process, leftists utilize the commanding heights of allied school districts, public teachers’ unions, and the federal Department of Education to enact their agenda. During the process of creating their commanding heights, the left aimed to eliminate parental educational choices by creating a public school monopoly and abolishing school choice in a war against private schools. In fact, in 1922, Oregon enacted a law outlawing all private schools, but it was luckily struck down by the Supreme Court in the 1925 Pierce v. Society of Sisters case, sparing private schools from potential eradication.
While curriculums in K-12 schools have become increasingly radical, Hegseth’s “Battle for the American Mind” also importantly states that curriculum is not the only issue within classrooms. Another key aspect of leftist control in American schools are intricate teaching methods that include language that is incomprehensible to most adults. From an early age, students are now forced to understand the left’s fluctuating custom language in order to succeed at basic coursework. Officially, the language is referred to as “critical theory”. Critical theory originated at the Frankfurt School in the early 20th century but has since managed to find a home in nearly all of academia, from primary school to higher education. Critical theory is the opposite of education. Critical theory emphasizes critique and societal change over education. The developers of critical theory admit this fact. In a 1937 essay by Max Horkheimer titled “Traditional and Critical Theory,” Horkheimer denounces “traditional theory,” which is simply education that aims to inform rather than manipulate. Instead, Horkheimer praises “critical theory,” which he defines as a system of education that seeks to critique society and implement radical changes to it. To quote Horkheimer, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” This aligns with the ambitions of modern leftists, who utilize schoolchildren and their adaptive minds to train them into a future of activism.
Progressives have managed to change liberal arts into “social studies”, transforming the lens through which history is seen. Instead of simply teaching history, modern “social studies” classes seek to generate fears about history. Nearly all elements of the past are viewed as negative, and students are not instructed to look towards the past for insights into how one should live or how society should function. Instead, today’s students are taught to embrace new and radical ideas, such as those from the 1619 Project, that directly conflict with the interests of themselves and their country. The final objective of the new “social studies” is not to actually educate students, but rather to turn them into left-wing activists.
The takeover of America’s schools was planned for decades but was finally made possible thanks to the federalization of the K-12 education system. President Jimmy Carter began this process back in 1979 with the development of the federal Department of Education. From there, Democrats expanded their symbiotic relationships with various teachers’ unions, particularly the National Education Association (NEA). Every election cycle, the NEA spends millions of dollars supporting Democrat candidates across the nation who promise to provide them with further power and influence. During the 2020 election cycle alone, the NEA funneled over $25 million to Democrats through their “NEA Advocacy Fund.” In return for these hefty campaign contributions, Democrats work directly with the NEA to develop key policies.
America was founded upon many of the principles of ancient Greece. Thomas Paine famously wrote, “What Athens was in miniature, America will be in magnitude. The one was the wonder of the ancient world; the other is becoming the admiration of the present.” The Greeks used the term “paideia” to describe how education impacted their people, especially children. Their system of education aimed to create virtuous citizens in their society. They were able to do this by focusing on three key virtues. The ancient Greeks taught their people to be skilled at “intellectual virtue,” “moral virtue,” and “natural philosophy.” This allowed for an immense transformation of power to take place. Instead of a select few in society having power due to their noble status or immense wealth, anybody in Greek society could become virtuous through proper education. America’s educational system worked in a similar way for nearly the first 200 years of the nation’s existence and successfully produced numerous generations of virtuous Americans. Sadly, leftists have completely ruined the above concepts and altered the modern K-12 school system to focus on “scientism”. The current system teaches materialistic philosophies, meaning that students are instructed to only focus on what can be physically seen or touched. The transition to philosophical materialism in schools was effectively completed in 1962, when the Supreme Court removed God from public schools by declaring school-sponsored prayer unconstitutional in the landmark Engel v. Vitale case. Ever since then, Democrats have been on a relentless mission to erase all teachings of virtue in public schools and replace said teachings with their own radical ideologies.
America is at war for its children, and according to Hegseth, “Our only option is insurgency. Our only chance is to become educational insurgents in our own country.” Luckily, the educational insurgency in America has already begun. However, America is still in the initial phases of the educational insurgency. Parents are opening up to the idea of school choice, but it is not yet available to many of them. Some Americans are blessed to have school choice programs in their local areas, but the majority of Americans do not have access to such programs. The 22 states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin are the only states with official school choice programs. Additionally, the federal government does not currently have any sort of school choice program. School choice must be expanded nationwide in order to win the battle for the American mind.
The most dangerous period of an insurgency is when transitioning from one phase to another, but the American educational insurgency will soon need to shift towards the next phase. During this phase, parents and conservatives must go on the offensive. Parents should speak with other parents and ask themselves why they do not have the choice to spend their tax dollars to send their children to any school that they want. Legal challenges should be brought against public teachers’ unions and at the very least, campaign contributions from public unions should be capped. This would help to limit the extensive influence that teachers’ unions currently have over government officials. Cameras should also be placed inside classrooms at K-12 public schools. Rather than monitoring the students, these cameras should be used to monitor the teachers, allowing teachers to be held accountable for any malicious activity. If there are cameras in public school buses, public courtrooms, public streets, and on police officers, why shouldn’t public teachers be monitored by cameras as well? Governors and school board members must actively work to break up so-called mega-school districts, which have been dramatically expanded to increase leftist control. Loudoun County Public Schools is a prime example of a mega-school district. The district has expanded by a whopping 400% in the past three decades, growing from 14,000 enrolled students in 1990 to approximately 83,000 in 2020. As a result, parents who protest at Loudoun County School Board meetings are largely ignored since they are viewed as a small minority. If mega-school districts were broken up and overseen by separate school boards, parents would have increased sway in the curricular decisions within their child’s district. Lastly, the most important element of the next phase to the American educational insurgency is the implementation of universal K-12 educational tax credits at the state and federal levels. The federal government spends approximately $1,050 per K-12 student each year, and states spend an average of around $7,050 per student each year. If this money were provided to parents, they would have the freedom to spend their educational tax credits at any school and determine the best educational route for their children. This will inevitably lead to an exodus from public schools, forcing public schools to compete for students and thus incentivizing them to alter their radical educational models.
The American educational insurgency will be completed when the K-12 educational system is no longer centralized. At this point, the educational playing field would be leveled and American families would have a true choice as to where to send their kids to school.
As Americans prepare to vote in the November midterm elections, it is imperative that they learn about the candidates running in their local school districts. Leftists have only been able to succeed in their efforts to control the minds of America’s children thanks to support from local officials. If radical school board members across the U.S. are removed in 2022 and replaced with sensible conservatives, the century-long takeover of America’s schools may finally be able to be reversed.
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