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Parents, don’t let your kids’ teachers be their only teachers

An important back-to-school message 

“So what did you learn in school today?”

It was a question my son had come to expect from me over the dinner table. He looked up from his plate and responded matter-of-factly: “American imperialism.” I almost choked on my chicken enchiladas.

We spent the next 20 minutes discussing the history of the United States. I countered the Howard Zinn-version he’d learned at his public high school, in which colonialists are caricatured as evil racists, with discussions of brave revolutionaries risking everything to found a country on the principle that we are all created equal.

This was a common occurrence in our home, because as a mother I consider educating my children one of my primary responsibilities. I am not cut out to be a homeschool mom — and I praise those who are — but that does not mean I am absolved from my duty to shape my kids’ minds and understanding of the world.

And so to all parents whose children head back to school this month, my message is a simple but urgent one: Don’t let your kids’ teachers be their only teachers.

As editor of The College Fix, I chronicle daily the leftist narrative that controls universities and the secular-progressive agenda that works to indoctrinate rather than educate. Often I’m asked how to fix the problems plaguing higher education. My answer is always the same – it’s too late to completely reverse the damage that has been done. The left essentially controls public education and is fully entrenched from kindergarten to college. The curriculum, teachers and administrators work in lockstep to raise your children for you and teach them what to think.

The solution is to arm our children with knowledge, data, facts and logic to inoculate them from the daily dose of liberalism they receive at school. It’s not a one-time conversation. It’s a constant discussion. It’s over the dinner table. It’s on long drives. It’s while you tuck them into bed. As parents, we must be as proactive as the educators who seek to influence our children with half-truths and a one-sided, out-of-context curriculum.

I am proud to say that today my 20-year-old son is a United States Marine. But in the decade leading up to his graduation, together we’d watch Prager University videos, Dinesh D’Souza documentaries, online Hillsdale College lessons. We went to intelligent design conferences. On car rides conservative talk radio was frequently on. We got him involved in the Young America’s Foundation high school program, where he attended a weekend conference at the Ronald Reagan Ranch and learned from noted conservative scholars from across the nation.

Today, my husband and I are focused on our 11-year-old daughter, who even as an elementary school student has been proselytized by the secular religion of climate change. That’s why we’ve discussed the natural environmental factors that influence climate, and how global weather has changed for eons – far before we started using fossil fuels. Among the resources I used are Competitive Enterprise Institute reports and a 5-minute PragerU video featuring climatologist Richard Lindzen discussing the motivations behind why environmentalists and politicians argue the sky is falling. You’d be surprised what an 11-year-old can grasp.

These types of discussions cannot be crammed into a few last-minute talks before your kids leave for college or head off to high school. They must be organic and a natural part of raising your family. Offer them in calm, rational and dispassionate tones, without hyperbole. Most of all, don’t tell them what to think, but rather how to think. In my experience, today’s children rarely get that at school.

I tried to explain this to my close friend recently over lunch. She and I went to high school together and her kids are in middle school. Both her boys excel at sports and get good grades. My friend is ultra-conservative when it comes to social, political and fiscal issues – but when I asked her if she discussed her beliefs with her sons, she said no. I wondered aloud if she was concerned about how they might turn out. Her long pause made it clear she had never really thought about it.

Consider this: Most days, our kids spend more waking hours with their teachers than with their parents. It’s a sobering thought, enough to drive any concerned parent into action. Every day represents a new opportunity to influence, instruct and encourage your children to be independent-minded thinkers. And so to all the parents who are preparing to send their children back to school: Your homework this school year is to ask them each day what they learned about in school, then give them a lesson of your own.

MORE: Most parents still ‘adulting’ for their grown children, survey finds

IMAGE: Locke Photography

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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