The claim that public schools “indoctrinate” their students is an integral part of the rightwing attack on public schools . This is a canard, a bald-faced lie.

The rightwingers insist that any efforts to teach tolerance and acceptance of others is “indoctrination.” Teaching children the importance of justice, they say, is “woke.”

This is the mission of public schools: to teach children academic skills and knowledge, of course, but also to teach them to work with people who are different from them and their family.

Teaching children to live, work, and play with others and to respect others is important to the functioning of our democracy. We are a people of many diverse origins, different nationalities, different religions. One of the implicit functions of public schools is to help bind us together as one nation, one people who share civic values.

Do you know which schools truly indoctrinate students? Religious schools. That is one of the essential goals of religious schools. They teach the doctrines of their faith. That is why they exist.

Yet, driven by religious zealots, red states are draining public money from public schools for religious schools.

The latest movement is to allow religious schools to become charter schools, enabling them to access public funds for teaching their doctrine.

Politico wrote:

CHURCH V. STATE — Oklahoma’s departing attorney general just took a big step toward achieving a conservative education milestone.

A state law that blocks religious institutions and private sectarian schools from public charter school programs is likely unconstitutional and should not be enforced, Attorney General John O’Connor and Solicitor General Zach West wrote in a non-binding legal opinion this month .

Their 15-page memo leans on a trio of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that favored religious schools and won rapt attention from conservative school choice advocates and faith groups. Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said the advisory opinion “rightfully defends parents, education freedom, and religious liberty in Oklahoma.” Newly-elected state Superintendent Ryan Walters called it “the right decision for Oklahomans.”

— “The policy implications are huge because this is the first state that is going to allow religious charter schools,” said Nicole Stelle Garnett , a University of Notre Dame law professor and influential religious charter school supporter who wants other states to follow Oklahoma’s lead . “The legal implications are huge because this is the first state that says that they have to,” she told Weekly Education.

Now it’s time to see if faith-based Oklahoma institutions successfully apply for taxpayer support to create charter schools that teach religion as a doctrinal truth just like private schools do today, and if legislators will push to change state law.Also watch if legal authorities in other Republican-led states pen similar opinions.

Those looming decisions and court fights will set the stage for renewed constitutional debates about the line between church and state.

Make no mistake: the bogus claim that public schools “indoctrinate” students is being used to advance the public funding of religious schools whose very mission is indoctrination.