Organization Trends

My Exodus from Public Schools

I taught professionally for 15 years, focusing my career on teaching English language learners and those behind in reading. I planned on staying in my tenured position as a public school teacher in California. I was content.

Then, Donald Trump became president, and I noticed a rapid shift. Left-leaning politics were being forced on my students. Before, it was slowly creeping into our schools during the Obama presidency. For example, they shut down all classes in my district and had every student watch President Barack Obama’s “Back to School” speech—something they’d never done before.

Public Brainwashing

But after Trump was elected, the subtle indoctrination switched to full-blown brainwashing. One teacher had a poster of Trump as a clown on his door. They would help, or more accurately, organize the students to do walkouts to protest his policies. They would openly call him a racist and fascist in front of their classes.

This kind of behavior from my colleagues was shocking. I had always remained politically neutral with my students because our public schools are supposed to be politically neutral environments, or so I thought. Even in this new hyper-politicized climate, I still had a classroom where students would get a break from their angry liberal teachers or any political talk. I stayed away from all the divisive chatter and stuck to the subjects I was hired to teach.

Like many of us in 2020, my job was significantly disrupted when the pandemic hit. I warned my students that this was not a normal reaction. We have had seemingly worse viruses enter our country and never reacted like this. The schools in my district quickly shut down while there were still zero cases in our county and only a few cases in neighboring counties. My students believed that they would be back in two weeks. I warned them that this shutdown would last the rest of the school year.

My district adopted a policy that all work and attendance didn’t count for the rest of the school year because of “equity.” So students didn’t have to complete their work. Predictably, participation dropped. Only 20 percent of students were turning in their work. Why should they? My students had good grades before we shut down, and they were told their grades would not fall even if they turned in nothing during the pandemic-induced distance learning, so many chose to take an extended vacation from schoolwork.

Summer of Violence

God often has a way of pushing us in the direction He wants us to go. For me, that push came during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) “summer of love”—the horrific riots where hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets. Suddenly, the “pandemic” did not matter. Woke nurses said protesting and spreading the virus was more critical than silence. The protests turned into nightly mayhem and violence. The first person killed by protestors was a black security guard.

That is when all protesting for “black lives” should have stopped! It wasn’t about black lives but about causing as much damage as possible. In three weeks, 15 people died! Most of them were black. They injured around 2,000 police officers and caused an estimated $1 billion in damages. The hypocrisy of it all was too apparent. The protests were socially approved, but my uncle’s funeral had to be limited. They claim that these violent riots were about saving black lives while they directly led to the death of black people.

I couldn’t keep quiet. I believe God pushed me to speak out. It was during this time that I started posting on social media condemning BLM. I had about 200 friends, most of them left-leaning (I was raised in Santa Cruz, CA), and they were doing posts like MLK quotes justifying the riots and going to the protests themselves. Did I mention that I am mixed Jamaican American? I received a lot of hate for speaking against it all. I had church family contact me in private messages that I wasn’t “Christ-like” because I was speaking against BLM. I had some in my immediate family condemn me as being on “the side of Satan” in text messages. But I could no longer be silent. I had previously signed up to teach summer school (I always taught summer school because I love to teach), but I contacted my principal, saying that I could not teach it. I had other work to do.

I started to gain a following. My goddaughter (who lived with me during the summer), and I had a viral video on Facebook speaking against BLM riots. I was receiving a friend request every minute, nonstop. I still had only a Facebook account at the time.

Leaving California

Then, the 2020–2021 school year started, and my school was still shut down. We heard about Florida opening up in the news. My husband and I visited Florida during our winter break and fell in love with the state. The beaches were beautiful. We ate in restaurants, while in California, all restaurants were still shut down for indoor dining. We walked on crowded streets with very few people in masks. In California, people treated you like a leper if you were not wearing a mask outside. I had some lady shuffle her kids away from me. They would jump off the sidewalk and cross to the other side. Florida was like another world.

We decided to move to Florida and resigned from our teaching jobs at the end of the school year. There is a silver lining to all public schools switching to remote learning. Because of the pandemic, I learned how to teach online effectively. Parents across the nation also learned how politically left-leaning the public school indoctrination has become, seeing it for themselves by watching their kids’ online instruction. Many wanted another option.

We decided to be that solution. We cashed out our small California teacher’s retirement (of course, they took 40 percent in taxes and kept the part the district contributed) and decided to walk in faith and open our online school, Exodus Institute. We have been open for over two years. Through God’s grace, we have a fully accredited K–12 program and a separate program called Young Patriots Academy with supplemental online lessons that counter all the leftist lies and socialist indoctrination pushed on students in public schools.

Battle for the Future

It’s not easy to step out in faith and completely change your life, but you know what’s worse? Staying stagnant and not doing anything of significance!

While opening my school and giving parents who want to homeschool but don’t know how another option have been incredibly rewarding, if I could snap my fingers and return to being a public-school teacher again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I miss my students in California, the traditional Mexican culture, teaching English language learners, and those who are behind in reading. I also miss the familiarity of it all.  If I could go back before the time of the trans and CRT agendas and just teach academics again, I would. My online school refutes the leftist indoctrination by teaching traditional American values and showing the dangers of socialism, but I wish I didn’t have to do this work. I wish I could just teach reading. Leaving my profession and engaging in this battle for the future of America has been a sacrifice. It’s not something I asked for, but it’s a challenge we must face so that maybe, someday, when this battle is won, future American teachers can just teach academics in public schools again.

Kali Fontanilla

Kali is serving as CRC’s Senior fellow, particularly focusing on topics related to K-12 public education. She has 15 years of experience as a credentialed educator working in public and…
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