It didn't take long for Mississippi State School Superintendent Carey Wright to fall in line like a good bureaucrat.
On Friday the 13th, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued their lawless edict threatening public schools and universities if they refused to open up their restrooms, locker rooms, dormitories, and probably sports teams to both sexes.
Before the day was out, Dr. Wright's office had surrendered without a fight: "A safe and caring school environment is critical to a student's ability to learn and achieve. The Mississippi Department of Education will adhere to . . . the joint guidance issued today" by the federal overlords.
Dr. Wright, with her credentials burnished in the liberal confines of DC and Maryland, apparently misread the landscape in Mississippi. As she was rushing to prove her fealty to the Obama administration, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant was hitting Twitter to urge the state Department of Education to ignore the decree.
Then both houses of the legislature weighed in, blasting Dr. Wright for "ma[king] the decision to usurp the [state] board's authority and unilaterally issue the policy decision to acquiesce to the illegal demands of the federal government. For this, the superintendent must be held accountable."
Dr. Wright finally reversed her decision, not with a ringing endorsement of state autonomy and protection of children, but with a meek acknowledgement that her department would "follow the lead" of state elected officials and take no action until the State Board of Education could meet.
Some Mississippi legislators weren't mollified by her forced retreat. Noting the glaring disconnect between the views and values of Dr. Wright and those of Mississippians. Senators Michael Watson and Angela Hill called for her resignation. In this they were joined by the Mississippi-based American Family Association.
AFA Action spokesman Rob Chambers announced, "We do not believe that Dr. Wright is fit to serve as the leader for our children, and the parents of our children, in the State of Mississippi."
The dispute in Mississippi illustrates the fundamental problem with the education establishment nationwide. Whereas elected officials should and are more likely to consider and defend the values of their constituents, unelected educrats — almost all of whom, in either conservative or liberal states, hold advanced degrees from education schools that all teach the same progressive nonsense — see nothing wrong with following orders from progressives who are higher on the education totem pole.
Add to this the broader problem of the disintegration of our federalist system, in which core constitutional responsibilities such as education have gradually been relinquished to the federal government. State bureaucrats have been conditioned over the last 50 years to look to Uncle Sam for all direction in running the schools.
Thus, Dr. Wright's reflexive embrace of the unlawful transgender directive.
Fortunately, elected officials in multiples states are now beginning to fight back against the insanity. Multiple State Attorneys General and other officials, led by AG Ken Paxton of Texas, have filed a federal lawsuit against the Administration seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against imposition of the transgender decree. Legislators in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states have demanded that the Administration rescind the directive and that officials in their states defend schoolchildren from the federal assault on their privacy and safety. And Georgia State Superintendent of Education Richard Woods – who is elected, not appointed – took a stand for sanity.
These actions, of course, come on the heels of North Carolina's resistance to the Justice Department's separate broadside against the state's right to preserve bathroom privacy in public buildings.
As state boards of education have time to meet about the issue, the outlook is promising that they too will take courage from state leadership and stand up for their rights and those of the schoolchildren for whom they're responsible.
After decades of acquiescence to federal pressure, some state officials are exercising muscles that had begun to atrophy. It's safe to assume that many education officials in those states are watching in discomfort, if not horror, as these executives unexpectedly defy the progressive zeitgeist. Not only may precious federal dollars be at risk, but the cutting-edge cultural values drilled into the educrats through all their years of graduate school appear to have slammed into the wall of common sense that still exists among the American people.
Dr. Wright was caught by surprise at the fierce resistance to tyranny. May this be the first of many battles in the long-awaited backlash.