". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Scholastic’s 2024 ’Read with Pride’ Initiative Makes No Attempt to Mask Its Radical Agenda

June 4, 2024

It’s simple. When someone is exposed to a lie, they need to be more clearly exposed to truth, not more lies. But unfortunately, leftist ideologues seem to prefer the paradoxical approach, namely, to capitalize on the vulnerable people caught up in a stew of falsehoods by spoon-feeding them more delusions. In a recent example of this, concerned Americans are sounding the alarm on Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publishing company, for releasing the 2024 guide to their “Read With Pride” initiative.

The guide considers itself to be a “resource” for K-12 students, as well as teachers and other figures of authority, “for supporting LGBTQIA+ youth and books.” The recommended books, which are aimed at kids as young as pre-school, contain content promoting transgenderism, same-sex couples and parents, the concept of “friends with benefits,” traveling to a “spirit realm,” and taking relationships “to the next level” with sexual intercourse.

Scholastic’s 2024 guide begins with a “letter to educators, caregivers, [and] advocates,” expressing their motivation for the 12-page document. It’s full of extreme LGBT ideology, and it makes no attempt to mask the progressive agenda. There are two specific lies I want to highlight.

The first lie is a stark statement found in the letter, where it specifically states that biological reality and biblical mandates are not the “default” and must be challenged. As it reads, “Books and literature are never neutral; by engaging with queer literature for children and young adults, you are disrupting the status quo that implies being cisgender, heterosexual, and allosexual are the default.” It should go without saying that our birth sex, the male or female God created us to be, is the default. Moreover, being born a boy or a girl is also a permanent biological reality.

No one can change their gender. No one was born in the “wrong body.” No amount of hormones, surgeries, or feelings will ever change this fact. And so, while Scholastic broadcasts this lie that there is no default, let those of us who care for children boldly and lovingly share that everyone is made in the image of God with innate dignity and value. How we are born is exactly how we were supposed to be born, and it’s a beautiful truth to embrace. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He won’t start now.

Unfortunately, Scholastic’s guide continued to make another patently false claim. They wrote, “Everyone benefits from books with authentic representation of queer identities.” This simply isn’t true. I’d argue no one benefits from these LGBT, rainbow-plastered alphabet books because they are harmful, not helpful. Especially since these books target kids at an age where they don’t fully understand what reality is. Their minds are malleable, giving these dangerous ideas a better chance to take root. And yet, the “truth” they’re told is completely contrary to nature.

To add to the concern, these books expose innocent, young, and vulnerable children to inappropriate, explicit content. No child needs to be reading a book about LGBT ideology, much less books discussing pornographic content. But the guide chose to amplify debunked statistics that suggest increased support for transgenderism decreases the likelihood of suicide among those who self-identify as such. However, this claim falls flat when compared to what credible sources have discovered.

In late February, The Washington Stand’s Senior Reporter Ben Johnson highlighted, “Transgender hormone injections and surgeries do not reduce the likelihood of suicide for people diagnosed with gender dysphoria, according to a new study from the founder of Finland’s first pediatric gender clinic.” Rather, “the cause of trans-identifying people’s high suicide rate lies with existing poor mental health, often from conditions ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder.” Under proper analysis, research reveals those who identify as LGBT need help long before any outward proclamation — only further confirming that their solution is not rooted in furthering their misunderstandings of reality but correcting them.

The Heritage Foundation’s Senior Legal Fellow Sarah Parshall Perry summarized on X, “[Scholastic] has vowed to use company resources to fight efforts by schools [and] parents to determine what content is appropriate for children [and] keep illustrated porn out of schools.” Much of Scholastic’s arguments fell under the claim that, “whether or not they are out to themselves or you, you absolutely know queer children and interact with them in your classrooms, libraries, and communities.” As such, they press society to interact via affirmation. But David Closson, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, had an approach to the conversation far different from that of Scholastic.

“The moral revolutionaries, as represented in this case by Scholastic, are seeking to mainstream and normalize ideologies that would have made no sense to any previous generation,” he shared with TWS. “For thousands of years of human history, questions related to sexuality were utterly uncontroversial. However, the moral revolution and those pushing it have had remarkable success in confusing some of the most basic categories of human existence.” But now, Closson continued, we see how “Scholastic is seeking to sow confusion amongst society’s most vulnerable population, which is our children.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at FRC, also shared with TWS, “The newspaper-like Scholastic magazines we poured over as children is no longer the Scholastic school children and teachers today experience.” She added, “With this effort to ‘get books into the hands of children’ regardless of legal restrictions of parental approval, Scholastic’s marketing plan seems to be taken from Big Tobacco or Big Tech. If this kind of effort were designed to promote cigarettes or social media, people would rightly react with skepticism and disgust.”

But what Closson emphasized is that “gender ideology has already proven to be a social contagion,” which makes it “absolutely crucial for Christians and all people of goodwill and common sense to oppose the indoctrination of our children and the full court effort to sow confusion about basic categories of sexuality.” Because, as expressed in Kilgannon’s similar sentiments, “Books designed to indoctrinate children with divisive or sexualized messaging are … dangerous.”

Closson concluded, “I would especially argue that Christian parents have a discipleship responsibility to protect their children from these dangerous ideologies. If left unopposed, these ideologies will reap irreparable harm on younger generations and confuse them about some of the most basic concepts of human existence.” This advice is not only timeless, but important to act on now. As mentioned before, children exposed to lies need to be wrangled in with the truth, not allowed to drift further into a vast ocean of deception.

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.