Reviewed by Gretchen Garrity
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” – P. T. Barnum
In the prologue to Ian Prior’s new book, “Parents of the World, Unite! How to Save Our Schools From the Left’s Radical Agenda,” Prior writes:
“…the school board meeting turned into an utter disaster. The meeting was cut short after sixty-two speakers, two men were arrested, and the national and local media were running with the “insurrectionist right-wing parents” narrative. I thought it was very possible that our young movement had just screwed up big-time.”
It turns out that Prior’s parents movement, “Fight for Schools,” was about to go national. From a local fight to protect school children from dangerous ideologies like Critical Race Theory (CRT), and transgender school policies, Prior’s group was able to turn the tables on an unresponsive school board and gain victory.
“Parents of the World, Unite!” is not only an entertaining story of how parents came together at a particular place and time to battle corruption in their schools, it is also a step-by-step primer on how to replicate victory in your community.
While Prior’s story is primarily about the school board, his strategies and tactics can be used in other public institutions that ultimately answer to citizen taxpayers.
The introduction includes twelve rules that, if implemented, will help citizens successfully battle corruption in their own communities.
Prior writes, “What follows are twelve essential and battle-tested strategies for fighting back against your school’s implementation of critical race theory, radical gender ideology, and the political agenda du jour that the Educational Industrial Complex is putting into school with your tax dollars paying the bills.”
Further, he says, “Remember that in the beginning, the task can be daunting. No one likes talking to strangers or drawing attention to themselves, especially if that attention is going to put you in the line of fire. But if you find a good group of people, put your heads together, and keep your eyes on the prize, there’s very little you won’t be able to accomplish.”
The book’s twelve chapters detail and explain the winning strategy.
Rule 1: Every Neighborhood Is a Battlefield.
Rule 2: Activate, Investigate, Communicate.
Rule 3: Always flip the Script.
Rule 4: Identify the “Bad Guys” and Take It to ‘Em.
Rule 5: Turn Your Fight into Must-See TV.
Rule 6: Do Not Get Stuck in the Mud.
Rule 7: When They Mobilize, Go Guerrilla.
Rule 8: Do Not Stop at the Wall.
Rule 9: You’ve Gotta Believe.
Rule 10: Don’t Let ‘Em Off the Ropes.
Rule 11: Don’t Be Overly Reliant on Past Success.
Rule 12: Play the Endgame.
Each chapter begins with a Key Lesson, and then goes on to describe what each Rule looks like in action. Prior explains the difference between goals, tactics, and strategies, and shows parents how to turn on a dime and change tactics as events demand.
There’s information on how to motivate and activate citizens, how his group raised funds and organized, and how to utilize the unique skills that each person can bring to the battle.
Along the way, Fight for Schools gained new voices, new strategies, and new battles. As the school board began to fight back, Prior explains how the group learned to zigzag around their tactics. He writes:
“After the June 22 meeting, the school board put in place new rules out of “fear for their safety.” Those rules included only letting 10 people into the building at a time, with only the speaker being allowed in the boardroom for public comment…Therefore, we decided to convene about 40 parents to record our own public comment system…We would then live stream it during the meeting itself as a way to show the school board that for every plan they had, we had one as well.”
With humor and good will even toward the “Bad Guys,” Prior shares the high and low points of the battle against corruption in the Loudoun County, Virginia schools. There was plenty of push back in the form of cancel culture and character assassination in the local and national press, but the parents kept moving forward and never gave up.
“Parents of the World, Unite!” also shares some helpful resources along the way. A Must Read if you are about to engage in the battle to save our public institutions and keep children safe from radical leftist agendas.