Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed this right. Yet, education elites have been on a collision course with parental rights, exhibiting that they are intent on using public schools as a laboratory for social experiments like critical race theory, gender fluidity, social justice, and early sexualization of children.  This year in Virginia, parents finally had enough. What happened in Virginia won’t stay there. It’s exactly what parents in North Carolina have been battling for almost five years now. And, the uprising by parents who don’t want their children’s education usurped for social experimentation is shaping up to be a major influence on North Carolina’s elections in 2022.

During the recent race in Virginia, the Democrats chose not to woo the Mama Bear demographic but chose instead to attack this group and did so at their own peril. Virginia’s past governor Terry McAuliffe said during his recent campaign for a second term that “Parents have no right to tell teachers what kids need to learn.” The results of the Virginia elections clearly proved that in a “very blue state,” Moms (and dads) voted for candidates who took up their fight to protect their children from harmful indoctrination, with little regard to political affiliation. For voting to protect their children, these parents were labeled as “Trumpers” by the mainstream media and “domestic terrorists” by the White House. The left awakened the “Mama Bears” in Virginia by going after their kids, and parents showed that they can become a motivated voting base when their children are attacked.

There is an old adage in Western culture “If you love sausage, don’t ever visit the sausage factory,” and I believe that adage holds true today as caring and concerned parents are discovering what their children are actually being taught in our public schools. These parents love the idea of quality public school education but have a growing sense that something just isn’t right. For several years our organization, the NC Values Coalition, has tried to make significant and meaningful changes to our state’s education system that would bring transparency about what children are being taught in our classrooms. Parents have a right to know.  After Virginia’s political reversal this year, we hope that North Carolina’s leaders will take seriously the issue of harmful classroom indoctrination and make that a priority in the upcoming election. Lt. Governor Mark Robinson has done an excellent job of exposing the harmful curriculum and books being used in our public schools, and his voice is resonating with parents across our state.

Parents are concerned that a well-disguised agenda is being driven by a small but vocal minority of teachers and administrators who deceive parents about what they are teaching, treat parents as obstacles, and deny that they are really teaching CRT and other harmful ideas. Fueled by radical left-wing groups, this movement provides free curriculum, materials, and teacher training to get a foothold in schools. It has infiltrated every aspect of our children’s education. Critical race theory is just the latest version, but it’s been preceded by Planned Parenthood designed sex-ed curriculum, anti-bullying instruction written by the Human Rights Campaign, social justice instruction by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a NCHSAA rule allowing biological boys claiming to be transgender to compete on girls’ sports teams and share their locker rooms. No wonder parents are frustrated and angry!

It’s time for parents in North Carolina to rise up and elect leaders who will stop classroom indoctrination that harms children and grooms them for left-wing political activism and sexual exploitation while keeping parents at bay and in the dark. Our children are precious, not testing grounds for social experiments. If candidates in North Carolina in 2022 don’t address this growing crisis, they may befall the same fate as the elite crowd in Virginia.

It is our duty, and our God-given right as parents and citizens, to absolutely ensure that all children are educated in the areas that matter —accurate teaching of history, science, math, reading, and writing—and that harmful indoctrination doesn’t replace real education in the classroom. What a great nation we are truly blessed to live in. There is a reason why for more than a century America has been the nation millions have flocked to, legally, to create a better life for themselves and their family. With a foundation of life, liberty, justice, equality, and freedom for all citizens, it’s a legacy we can’t afford to lose.

Tami Fitzgerald is executive director of the NC Values Coalition.