What could motivate hundreds of parents to attend a local school board meeting? Well, parents in the Alpine School District in Utah have been attending in large numbers to demand comprehensive changes in the curriculum. It all began when a 6th-grade history teacher told eleven-year-old Susan Schnell that the United States is a democracy rather than a constitutional republic and that quotes from the Founding Fathers were “fiction.” Susan's mother decided to homeschool her for the rest of the year. When she went to the district office to fill out the paperwork, she was shocked to see a 30-foot mural that read, “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy.” Mrs. Schnell wondered why the district’s motto emphasized politics instead of educational excellence. The mission statement was linked to an essay by radical Green Party activist William Meyers of California, who argues that the Founding Fathers were “predatory elitists” who started the U.S. for their own selfish gain, and that for two centuries people have been working to correct that “dangerous mistake” and transform our nation into a Socialist Democracy. Utah parents rapidly mobilized, set up a petition on a website, gathering 700 signers, including six state legislators. The petition calls for a change of history textbooks, the modification of several history and government curriculum standards, and a resolution to observe Constitution Day in the schools. Parents found “entire phrases that come from socialism” in a brochure about the district, and were adamant that the district’s entire philosophy must change. At one board meeting, a parent received a standing ovation when she said, “We hope a new mission statement will focus ... more on excellence in academics.”
In the election this year, every school board incumbent has at least two challengers vying for the seat. “It shows the community is stepping up and saying we’ve had enough,” he said. Indeed, there’s been an awakening among parents about what is being taught in the schools.
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