They’ve seen the lengths to which the public school establishment will go just to retain its stranglehold on America’s education system. They can testify to the political indoctrination of children, the bullying of anyone who dares challenge the prevailing narrative, and the clandestine scheming to keep parents in the dark.
Now they’re fighting back to free families from the grip of a public education apparatus that puts students last.
Former California public school teacher Kali Fontanilla, winner of the Goldwater Institute’s 2022 Freedom Award, and Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas, a Goldwater client and the 2021 Freedom Award recipient, star in a new PragerU documentary, “The Biggest Bully in School: Why Public Education Is Failing America.” Both women have boldly stood up to the bullies: Kali spoke out in an exclusive Goldwater Institute video after discovering that her public school was forcing the falsehoods of Critical Race Theory (CRT) down kids’ throats. And Nicole refused to back down even after the nation’s largest teachers union sued her for trying to find out what her daughter would be learning in kindergarten. (The Goldwater Institute is defending Nicole against that frivolous suit pro bono.)
“Our schools are supposed to be politically neutral environments, and that’s no longer what they are,” says Kali, who spent fifteen years as a public school teacher. In 2020, Kali discovered her Salinas, California, school was using a mandatory “ethnic studies” class to indoctrinate children with the lies Critical Race Theory—a toxic ideology that tells students that public institutions must atone for “systemic racism” by treating people differently based on their skin color.
Kali blew the whistle, and then the “real racism” started.” Public education bureaucrats deemed Kali, who is half Jamaican, “anti-people of color” and banned anti-CRT comments at school board meetings. She was harassed, demeaned, and threatened with violence—yet Kali kept standing up for teachings of empowerment over messages of despair.
“America needs to see what’s happening in our classrooms, and how our teachers are trained to be racist, and how a lot of this is being pushed by the teachers unions,” Kali says in the PragerU documentary. “With schools closed, many parents saw for the first time just how political classrooms have gotten. But when parents began to dig into the curriculum to see what exactly was being taught, the unions became desperate to shut them out.”
That’s exactly what happened to Nicole.
Concerned that her daughter would be exposed to radical political content in kindergarten, Nicole asked a simple question: What will my daughter learn? The South Kingston School District told her to submit formal public records requests, which she did. But doing exactly what the district told her to do just made the public education bureaucrats that much more hostile.
“They had a full, five-hour school board meeting where my school board had people speak against me as if they were witnesses speaking against me at trial,” Nicole says. “They were really just trying to publicly humiliate me.”
Ultimately, the school district told Nicole the public records she asked for would cost $74,000. Then the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, sued to black Nicole from accessing the materials.
“I think they were primarily trying to bully me, harass me, and send a message to other parents, that they will come after them with frivolous litigation if they advocate for their children in the same way that I did,” Nicole says.
Her story isn’t an outlier. Consider Texas mom Jenny Crossland, who was told to fork over $1,300 just to see what books children were reading in school. The Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network (AFN) of pro bono attorneys is helping Jenny get the answers she deserves, but as countless parents across the country push back against the radical lessons taught to their children in public schools, they’re also being stonewalled or charged thousands of dollars in public records requests fees just to find out the truth.
The public’s business should be open to the public, but the laws governing public records requests can be confusing, and citizens are often unaware of their rights. The Goldwater Institute’s new OpenMyGovernment.org guide can help, giving parents the tools they need to file effective public records requests when the government and its union allies tries to keep secrets. And AFN attorneys stand ready to help parents in every state access the information they’re entitled to.
But parents shouldn’t even need to file public records requests just to find out what’s being taught to their kids in taxpayer-funded schools. That’s why Kali and Nicole are advocating for the Goldwater Institute academic transparency law. This commonsense reform, which Goldwater is promoting in states across the country, requires public schools to post a listing of their learning materials online so that parents with questions about any aspect of their child’s curriculum can easily find out what’s being taught within seconds.
In capitols and courtrooms around the nation, the Goldwater Institute will never stop standing alongside parents who want to take back control of their kids’ education from the union-backed public education apparatus.
“They don’t know what to do when you fight back,” Nicole says. “They don’t have a plan B. So fight back.”
Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.
Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.Donate Now
Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.
Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.