“The radicalism that the left has taken to try to force socialism and Marxism in our classrooms is the most outrageous thing this country has ever seen,” said Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s superintendent of public instruction. “You all are on the front lines of it.”
As hours-long protests continued outside, the 600-plus member crowd inside was energized, including at this lunchtime gathering in the Marriott ballroom — the only session outside the presidential speeches to which The Inquirer was granted access Friday, with other workshops closed to media. (Topics included: “Comprehensive Sex Education: Sex Ed or Sexualization,” “Dark Money’s Infiltration in Education — and How to Fight It,” and “Driving the Narrative: If You Aren’t Telling the Story, Someone Else Is.”)
This session, which followed remarks from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, included a panel of education officials — Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., Arkansas Education Secretary Jacob Oliva, and South Carolina Superintendent Ellen Weaver — who touched on some of the big challenges in education, including pandemic learning loss and a reckoning over reading instruction, which many experts say schools have been teaching improperly.