I’m not sure where you live, Junebug—but I live in California. Not far from Hollywood, as a matter of fact. You may know it better as “the cesspool of liberal indoctrination.” So, I can only speak to the reality of the educational issues you bring up as they pertain to my own experiences here in the most liberal state in the union. For one, the pledge is recited at the beginning of every single school day—just as it has since I was in school. I’ve never heard of any movement to remove it, at least not one with any legitimacy. Kids are also free to pray in public school— and always have been. This is especially important for our Muslim students, whose religion require them to pray at pre-prescribed times of the day, some of which fall within the school day. The public school my kids attend has active Christian, Jewish and Muslim clubs on campus where kids are free to discuss God to their hearts content. What is not allowed is for teachers to compel students to take part in a prayer against their will, or to inject their personal religious beliefs into the topic they are responsible for teaching. That would create bias in their teaching, with is one thing I agree with you has no place in our public classrooms!
When my kids were enrolled to take the required sex-ed class in the 9th grade— pamphlets were in fact sent home to the parents, explaining what topics would be discussed and in what manner. It was a comprehensive, science based sexual education focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STD’s. Any parents who objected to their kids learning about these things—or would rather teach their children about sex their own way, were free to opt their kids out of the class—no one’s child was forced to learn anything against their will, or their parents will. I allowed my kids to take the class, and also chose to have open discussions with them about what they were learning in order to answer any questions or clear up any confusion they may have had. Funny thing— their sex ed teacher also happened to be a lesbian woman! She turned out to be one of the best teachers they’ve had at that school—in fact, she is a favorite among many students, has won district wide awards and is a treasure in the community. And, in case you’re wondering—never once did she try to brainwash any of her students and “turn them gay.” She did, however, provide a safe space and an empathetic ear to students who were struggling to come to terms with their own homosexuality—some of whom were made to feel worthless by their own ignorant parents and faith communities—who otherwise would’ve had no one else they could talk to. The kinds of kids who take their own lives in staggering numbers year after year—it’s beyond heartbreaking. At graduation last year, one of those students happened to become valedictorian. In his speech, he thanked that teacher for saving his life. Two years earlier he had planned to go home and kill himself after school. It was a conversation he had with her after class one day that made him realize his life was worth living— and thank God for that. Two years later he’s graduating at the top of his class. And for the record— the entire time my kids were in her class, she never once discussed her personal life in the classroom—it wasn’t until after my kids were out of her class that they learned of her sexual orientation (though there were clues, and plenty of speculation, truth be told). Regardless, she is well respected by students, teachers and parents—not because of who she’s married to, but because she’s a damn good teacher—and person. Who teaches the facts, without injecting personal bias (in addition to sex-ed, she also teaches Social Studies).
And to address one last thing you mentioned—parents have always been welcome in the classroom. As a matter of fact, here in California—state law gives parents (or any citizen for that matter) the right to sit in on any public school class (so long as they do not disrupt the class)—as it is treated like any other public proceeding that citizens have a right to observe, such as court proceedings or city council meetings. After all, our tax dollars pay for the school to operate, we ought to have the right to see how those dollars are being spent. And many parents exercise that right—as have I on a couple occasions.
So, I don’t know where you live Junebug, but it sounds like you would be a lot happier if your grandkids went to school out here in the Golden State! And I assure you, all of us degenerate liberals here in California would welcome you with open arms :)