This past weekend, the Leadership Institute’s School Board Programs hosted its first-ever Learn Right: Education Leaders Summit in Sarasota, Florida to equip attendees to lead the conservative education movement.

The event featured a huge lineup of noteworthy speakers, including Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott, Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich, and Noah Webster Educational Foundation’s own board member Dr. Karen Hiltz. The summit was for current school board members, along with those who are running, considering running, or are concerned citizens about America’s education.

 “America’s schools are failing our children and families,” said Bridget Ziegler, Director of Leadership Institute’s (LI) School Boards Programs and one of the keynote speakers. “As a mom of three young girls, I am constantly reminded what’s at stake: their future, their entire generation’s future, and the direction of our country.” 

Ziegler continued, “I refused to stand idly by as special interest groups and radical ideology work to capture and destroy the institutions that are vital to preserving our freedom and our great nation.  Faith, family, and education are the bedrock of a free country, all of which are under full assault… I’m taking this powerful training across the nation to help more parents fight this radical indoctrination, reclaim their school board, and protect their children—America’s future leaders.”

The event held mainstage panels, breakout sessions, and even expanded training, all designed to equip attendees with the information and tools to reclaim their school boards. Panels included topics like the danger of gender ideology in schools.

“The fight in schools is the most important fight in this country,” said James Lindsay, one of the keynote speakers, who’s a political commentator and wrote The Marxification of Education.

Gender ideology and sexually explicit books are just some of the issues that have parents concerned in schools. A number of the books in question have been banned, and CBS held a recent segment to talk about the issue, which featured Moms for Liberty co-founders Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice.

When asked what kind of books they wanted in school libraries, Descovich answered, “Books that educate children.” 

Justice chimed in, “Books that don’t have pornography in them, let’s start there. Let’s just put the bar really, really low. Books that don’t have incest, pedophilia, rape.”

But, opponents to book bans worry about censorship.

“Identities are not obscenities. Stories are not pornography. They are possibility,” said Summer Boismier, who taught 10th-grade English before losing her job for wearing a QR code in school that linked to banned books. Boismier was accused of distributing pornography for wearing the code. Now, she works for the Brooklyn Public Library with Books Unbanned.

The president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library in New York, Linda Johnson, thinks book bans are a threat to democracy.

“It sounds melodramatic but, you know, to do something which inhibits intellectual curiosity is like a death knell for democracy,” said Johnson.

Just this past Monday, the American Library Association published the most challenged books of 2022. The top three were Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. A main reason these books are challenged is that some claim the titles are sexually explicit.

According to Moms for Liberty, CBS failed to mention the “pornographic” books that were shown to them by Justice and Descovich. But, the moms believe in the power of parents.

Justice said, “Our moms and dads are very concerned about the future of the country, and they’re willing to step up however they need to, to fight for the survival of America.”

“Never bet against a mom,” she said. “Nobody’s going to defend anything like a mom is going to defend their child.”

Learn more about book banning: what it is and what it isn’t.