The urgent, revelatory story of how a school board win for the conservative right in one Texas suburb inspired a Christian nationalist campaign now threatening to undermine public education in America—from an NBC investigative reporter and co-creator of the Peabody Award–winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist Southlake podcast.
Award-winning journalist Mike Hixenbaugh delivers the immersive and eye-opening story of Southlake, Texas, a district that seemed to offer everything parents would want for their children—small classes, dedicated teachers, financial resources, a track record of academic success, and school spirit in abundance. All this, until a series of racist incidents became public, a plan to promote inclusiveness was proposed in response—and a coordinated, well-funded conservative backlash erupted, lighting the fire of a national movement on the verge of changing the face of public schools across the country.
They Came for the Schools pulls back the curtain on the powerful forces driving this crusade to ban books, rewrite curricula, limit rights for minority and LGBTQ students—and, most importantly, to win what Hixenbaugh’s deeply informed reporting convinces is the holy grail among those seeking to impose biblical values on American society: school privatization, one school board and one legal battle at a time.
They Came for the Schools delivers an essential take on Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, as they demean public schools and teachers and boost the Christian right’s vision. Hixenbaugh brings to light fascinating connections between this political and cultural moment and past fundamentalist campaigns to censor classroom lessons. Finally, They Came for the Schools traces the rise of a new resistance movement led by a diverse coalition of student activists, fed-up educators, and parents who are beginning to win select battles of their own: a blueprint, they hope, for gaining inclusive and civil schools for all.
About the Author
Mike Hixenbaugh, senior investigative reporter for NBC News, has been named a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won a Peabody Award for his reporting on the battle over race, gender, and sexuality in American classrooms. They Came for the Schools, his first book, is the winner of the prestigious Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Hixenbaugh’s work at newspapers in Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas has uncovered deadly failures in the U.S. military, abuses in the child welfare system, and safety lapses at major hospitals. He lives in Maryland with his wife and four children.