Five reasons for hope in a time of confusion
Free to Teach - April 2024

As you have probably heard, the Biden administration just announced Title IX rule changes that alter how the administration interprets and applies civil rights laws in education. If these rules withstand legal challenges, they will require any school that receives federal money—basically every public school—to adopt policies consistent with transgender ideology or face the risk of losing federal funding. Even school districts within states that don’t require these policies and who have state governments and school boards that oppose them will be under significant pressure to require pronoun use and bathroom, locker room, and sports team access inconsistent with a student’s sex. 

This is clearly a disaster, but here are 5 reasons not to panic, but instead, be filled with hope. 

1. We have good reason to believe that these Title IX rules and many state/district-level transgender policies will be overturned in court. As I have written before, courts are waking up to the ways that schools are infringing on the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Leaders in Florida and Oklahoma have already instructed districts in their states to ignore the rule change. 

2. Even if some transgender policies remain, courts are growing more sympathetic to the free speech rights of K-12 educators in these situations. As Clint Elliott wrote in last month’s Free To Teach, both the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the Virginia Supreme Court have recently recognized that transgender pronoun policies may infringe on the free speech and/or religious rights of K-12 educators. While we hope that our nation wakes up to the harm we are doing to students in the name of pseudo-scientific gender theory (which courts and policy-makers may eventually treat as a religious claim), even if not, I can see a future in which even teachers in states like California, New York, Minnesota, and Massachusetts can respectfully decline to use transgender pronouns and remain as salt and light in our public schools without fear. 

3. Christian Educators has been actively working with a key partner over the last year to craft a legal challenge to these Title IX rules. Our attorneys are still analyzing the text of the rules and our strategy is being fine-tuned, but we hope to share more soon. Would you pray for us? And let me add that we are aware of many other groups, including coalitions of states, also preparing lawsuits. Whether or not it is our legal action that breaks through or a separate effort, I am confident that these unconstitutional rules will not stand.   

4. The medical consensus is turning against “gender-affirming care,” and this will have a significant cultural and legal impact. A short review of some of the headlines at reveals a sampling of this dynamic:

We know that the Scriptures are true, and therefore we have confidence that we, and our students, are created male and female on purpose by our loving Father. Eventually, I believe this truth will win out even in a culture with a voracious appetite for the untrue—as John Adams famously said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” 

5. Most importantly, our God is on the throne, and He takes impossible situations and redeems them for His glory and our good. There are tens of thousands of Christian educators, including many members of ours, who are faithfully serving Jesus in our public schools despite the fact that they serve in states or districts with laws and policies that affirm gender confusion. As individuals, they may draw lines in different places in terms of cooperation with these policies, but many have told me that they will not cooperate with them in any meaningful way, and yet God continues to protect them. I cannot help but think of how Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Joseph, and Esther all served in pagan/secular governments, and yet God not only protected them but used them mightily at a time of His choosing. Tears come to my eyes when I reflect on the courage of these educators who are modern-day Daniels and Esthers in our midst. Even with the qualification that losing a job is not at all like being martyred—the context of Hebrews 11—I am still compelled to echo Hebrews 11:38 in saying that our nation is not worthy of these educators who are standing in the gap to protect the innocence of our students. May their number increase. 

Here are two examples of these kinds of courageous educators making a difference in our public schools:

  • California Christian Educators’ member Brenda Lebsack has worked for several years to protect the innocence of students in her school district and beyond. Through persistent and courageous activism, Lebsack demonstrated to her district that they were potentially giving sexual predators access to their students and thereby incurring legal liability by referring them to The Trevor Project. As a result, the Santa Ana USD removed the Trevor Project Crisis Hotlines from posters at all K-12 schools, as well as from counselors’ business cards. (Why was The Trevor Project on counselors’ business cards in the first place? Crazy.)
  • A courageous Minnesota member contacted us about an “LGBTQIA+ Pride Lesson” that teachers in the Osseo Area Schools District 279 were required to teach verbatim. Through our partnership with Liberty Counsel, a letter was sent to the district demanding that teacher and student opt-out processes be respected and strengthened, as well as asking for changes to the scripted lesson. In response, the district made changes to the lesson and affirmed that teachers could opt out, as well as students. Liberty Counsel received reports that on the day of the lesson in early April, up to 1,000 students and 15 teachers opted out at Maple Grove High School alone. Our member told me after the fact that teachers at his school had been trying to work through their union for weeks to get these issues addressed but were essentially ignored. Only when Christian Educators and Liberty Counsel got involved did things change. 

Finally, some happenings to be aware of:

  • Utah passed a law in March allowing the Ten Commandments to be taught in history curriculums and posted in classrooms.
  • Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on April 18 making Florida the second state (after Texas) to allow chaplains in K-12 schools. Interestingly, DeSantis called out anticipated attempts by Satanists to use the bill to gain access to children in schools, saying:

Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program that, somehow, you’re going to have satanists running around in all our schools. We’re not playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion. That is not qualified to be able to participate in this. So, we’re going to be using common sense when it comes to this.

Obviously, it remains to be seen if courts will follow DeSantis’ reasoning as the ACLU and other groups are expected to challenge the law. 

  • Washington became the seventh state to specifically require LGBTQ content in K-12 curriculums, joining California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, and  New Jersey. (H/T: Lauren Dunn’s “Schooled” newsletter.) 

I want to end with an encouragement not to let the ups and downs of these events affect the temperature and texture of your heart. Consider Isaiah 50:7

But the Lord God helps me;

    therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like a flint,

    and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 

Let us “set our faces like flint” toward our purpose of representing Jesus as kingdom ambassadors in our schools. He is a faithful Father and the source of our hope.  

David Schmus is the Executive Director of Christian Educators.

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Free to Teach is written to inform, encourage, and inspire Christian educators serving in our public schools. It should not be construed as legal advice provided by an attorney.

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you David for finding some positive perspective to this horrendous decision by Biden, to encourage the Christian Educators. We have to trust God and His plan, while standing up for His principles.

  2. Excellent! Thank you so much for the information in this article to help us understand the current happenings surrounding the transgender culture. Thank you also for the wonderful examples of educators and politicians who are committed to protecting our children in the classroom. The encouraging scripture you shared certainly provides the foundation for educators to remain positive and not give up. Thank you David for allowing God to use your gifts and shed HIS LIGHT to educators across America!

  3. Thank God for answering the call to serve and respresent we teachers in the public schools that hold to a Biblcal Worldview, but most importantly for protecting the innocense of our students and their parents’ rights. I teach special needs students in the state of Minnesota in a small rural district. I am concerned at how our district will handle this new rule change from the feds as Minnesota current congress has lost all common sense…. However, Greater is He that is within us then he that is in the world. I so appreciate reading these articles with the data to back up what is being pushed. I daily pray for God’s wisdom and His help to be His salt/light.

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