The State of Education with Melvin Adams

Ep. 44 "A Grassroots Movement Chokes the Education System’s Weeds" - Guests Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich

December 07, 2022 Melvin Adams Episode 44
The State of Education with Melvin Adams
Ep. 44 "A Grassroots Movement Chokes the Education System’s Weeds" - Guests Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich
Show Notes Transcript

Do you ever feel alone in your desire to make change in our society? Well, ironically, you’re not alone in feeling alone; we all feel that way sometimes. And also, you’re not actually alone. Did you know that there are over 100,000 parents across America who are actively engaging with the school system? Our guests on The State of Education today are the cofounders of Moms for Liberty—a grassroots organization whose momentum has washed over the US, fueled by a desire to stand up to the government on behalf of our kids. Today, Melvin gathers valuable insight from Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice that unifies, educates, and empowers you to be a part of that movement!

Resources Mentioned on Today’s Episode:

  • Are you interested in starting or joining a Moms for Liberty chapter? Visit and join the fight! 


Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Follow us on Instagram:
Subscribe on YouTube:
To hear more from NWEF, subscribe to our other podcast:


Noah Webster Educational Foundation collaborates with individuals and organizations to tell the story of America’s education and culture; discover foundational principles that improve it; and advance practice and policy to change it.

Reach out:

ADAMS: These are exciting days in education, there are so many things happening across the country for good. We hear so much stuff that’s bad in education but there are also some very good things. 

And one of those very good things is to see the active engagement of parents: stepping forward, organizing, and getting engaged on behalf of their children and their schools. 

There are a number of organizations that are helping to facilitate and coordinate those efforts. Among the leaders is an organization started in Florida called Moms for Liberty. Today we are pleased and honored to be joined by cofounders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich. And so welcome to both of you, ladies. So glad to have you with us today. 

DESCOVICH: Thanks for having us on. 

ADAMS: For those who don’t know much about what you’re doing (maybe for those who don’t know at all) let’s start with some of the basics. So you both live in Florida, you're both moms, and you both serve on school boards. And so what started this for you? 

DESCOVICH: Well, as you said, Tiffany and I both served on school boards here in Florida from 2016-2020. And we like to say that we saw behind the education curtain while we served. And we had a great experience: both of us talk about some of the wonderful times we had serving.

But we also were exposed to a lot of things going on that we found unacceptable. We saw public schools, government schools, starting to overstep more into the parental rights area. 

And as 2020 unfolded and COVID unfolded, all of America saw what public schools were doing and how the government was intruding on those parental rights. Tiffany and I did not know each other while we were serving, but at the end of our terms, we were introduced to each other and began to call each other once in a while. 

We were losing 4-to-1 on our boards and making the paper and so I thought, “Huh, I think we kind of think alike.” And we took a lay of the land and say that parents were trying really hard to advocate for their children. 

But not doing a very good job because they didn’t really understand the structure and the power struggle and how much control they had. And we saw this and thought, “We know how to help them.” and so January first of 2021, we launched Moms for Liberty. 

ADAMS: So that kinda started almost like a small group, maybe in your home or something? 

JUSTICE: It started with two chapters. So when Tina says we’ve served on school boards, we were there for 12-hour meetings during COVID. And what we found was there were moms who were coming and sitting through those meetings. 

The two first chapters were started by two women in our own communities. These were women that had advocated and knew parental rights issues were being infringed upon. 

And so those first two chapters we actually launched and we had our first meeting in early January in Brevard county. We had a dual meeting of both chapters and just launched. And that was out at a restaurant, so if you ask where we met that was out at a restaurant that would have us. 

And then 3 weeks later we got a call from Nassau county, New York, from Barbara. And she called Tina and asked her if she could start a chapter. And originally we had just thought, “Okay, let’s try Florida.” We understood Florida, we understood the funding mechanism in Florida, and how the government worked.  But very quickly we saw that Moms for liberty was not ours to hold exclusively. And that it was going to be important that we open it up to the rest of the country. 

So now you see us over 18 months later with over 230 chapters in 40 states with over 100,000 active members. It’s been really, really remarkable. And all of our chapters hold meetings every month to go over their school district budget and to discuss the issues that are most concerning to the parents in their community. 

And they hold those meetings at lots of different places. Sometimes at homes, but also at parks, at restaurants, at churches—wherever they can find a place where they are welcome to be able to fight for the survival of America and create a better future for our children. 

ADAMS: You know, it really is exciting and phenomenal to see the engagement of parents. I’ve been in this for a long time trying to promote better practices in education and get parents involved. And honestly, I hate to say this, but I think COVID is our best friend. 

Because all of a sudden, it brought what was going on in our schools right into the living rooms. And parents suddenly became aware of things that they were just not aware of or didn’t want to believe. But now we’re seeing a major resurgence there, we’re seeing a lot of momentum which is so exciting. Why don’t you start by sharing your mission statement? 

DESCOVICH: Our mission is to save America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government. We understand very clearly that parents are the last line of defense against government intrusion into our personal lives. 

Once they can divide a family, once they can divide a child from their parents and take authority there on how they’re going to raise them, whether it be medical, educational, moral, or religious decisions, we’ve lost the battle. And so we’re the final line. 

ADAMS: Yeah. And so this really started around school issues, particularly, did it not? But maybe has it expanded beyond that now and the whole parental bill of a rights issue? Expand on that just a little. Give us kinda some of the history, and some of the issues that you’re seeing. What are parents really caring about and what are they getting involved in? 

JUSTICE: You talked a little bit about COVID. I like to say that we make COVID Lemonade. You’re right, COVID opened the education curtain and pulled that back for every parent in America and they got to see very clearly what government schools (and we do have government schools so we need to be honest about that) were teaching children or not teaching children. 

And so you say it’s bigger than education, it’s really about the relationship between the parent and the child. We know that parents have fundamental rights. And in Florida in 2021 a parents’ bill of rights was passed. 

15 other states in the country say parental rights are fundamental rights. The government does not give you these rights, they cannot take them away. And you as the parent have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of your children. 

That’s including, but is not limited to, their education, their medical care, and their moral and religious upbringing. Very, very important, as Tina said. We’re the last line of defense: the relationship between the parent and the child. 

And so during COVID, you saw parents that saw what their kids were learning, what their children weren’t learning, and they also had an expert class in America that they had trusted that failed them. 

They saw doctors and other professionals that were giving them advice, that they knew intrinsically was not what was best for their children. When you have the American Academy of Pediatrics coming out and telling mothers that babies don’t need to see their face and that wearing a mask won’t harm their relationship with their child, that’s a lie. 

And American parents said, “Wait a second. Can we not trust all of these experts that we’ve put so much trust in in the past, who are we going to trust?” and really, what you’re seeing through Moms for Liberty is a community being built. 

Its parents look at each other saying, “We can trust each other. We want what’s best for our children, we want what’s best for America, and we’re going to band together and fight for our parental rights. Because if you don’t have those fundamental parental rights respected, you have nothing 

ADAMS: That’s so true, absolutely true. And I think it is sad. Because the American people, by and large, put huge trust in our government, in our system, and in our schools. We trust it. But unfortunately, we have found that not every individual and organization is trustworthy. 

And we have to trust our own instinct and we have to build communities and take some things into our own hands to bring about structures and elements and people that will represent us and that we can trust with the best interest of our kids. 

So some of the big issues that you’re focusing on, obviously there’s the whole school board issue. I think you’re aware of this, but we were one of the early ones, in conjunction with the Leadership Institute (which I know you know well) that started coming out with some school board training. 

We did that collaboratively with them. We’re refining what we’re doing and will continue to do that. And so I know that you are constantly working on trying to find good candidates and identify those who are really listening to parents who really do have an interest in the overall well-being of the child, putting the child and their needs first, but then those who aren’t and then replacing them. Talk to us a little bit about some of that focus. 

JUSTICE: Yeah, so we’re absolutely looking to have good quality candidates for school board and there are moms and dads all over the country that are wanting to run now. They recognize that serving in an elected office isn’t for somebody else, it’s for you. 

We recognize that this government didn’t work without us well. That we had been engaged and involved in our lives in so many different ways: working very hard, taking care of our families, buying a house, and saving money for our kids to go to college. 

But what we saw was that we had neglected this whole arena of politics and that many people are career politicians who have not neglected that and now use the government in ways that some of us would have never thought would be possible in America. 

So you’re right. We’re working in many different ways to encourage people to run for office. Tina spoke a little bit about the fact that we served on school boards from 2016 to 2020, and both of us served. 

And it was a wonderful experience. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I know Tina and I both had our challenges when we served. We were a bit of disrupters, we saw a lot of issues. We were unpacking backpacks, I had 4 kids in public school at the time, so there’s nothing like having kids in public school and then also serving on that elected board. 

So we are absolutely encouraging moms and dads and other community members that care about their communities to run for school board because it is a wonderful experience. Tina and I both served on the school board, as I said, but we were disrupters to a certain degree, we were unpacking a lot of backpacks, seeing a lot of issues, and then going to the school district and asking why these things were happening. 

We need more people to get involved and run for office. You learn a lot about your community. Again, it’s a wonderful experience to serve on the school board. And there are lots of different skills that you may have in your life as a professional, even as a mom. 

Some of the skills I actually relied on most when there were disagreements within the school district was my ability to mediate between my children in some of those fights, right? We human beings are human beings. 

But everyone has a role to play here. So serving on the school board is a great way to get involved and to give back. And we’re so thankful for groups like the Leadership Institute and others who create training programs. 

Because the truth of the matter is, you get elected, you get on that school board, and then the first meeting you have, decisions need to be made. And so I just encourage anybody that’s considering running for the school board to start getting involved now. 

Pay attention to those meetings, start going to those meetings, request copies of the budget from this year and years past to be able to compare those budgets, and then reach out to groups like yours, like the leadership institute, like the Heritage Foundation. There are lots of different groups that have come to us and said, “How do we help you in reclaiming public education in America?”

ADAMS: Yes. And that is the ultimate question, isn’t it? All of us work together, taking various resources we have, the various knowledge and talents that we have, and collaborating. 

Because at the end of the day, organizations like ourselves and those you’ve mentioned, we can put stuff together, but it only really has an impact when individuals take those resources and see that they can actually bring value to what they want to achieve in their own communities where they can use those things as tools to bring about the change where they are. 

And that’s our whole focus as an organization. Is just trying to create tools and resources that empower people to bring about the kind of change that needs to happen locally. And we love the fact that you’re building this massive network. We look forward to continuing to work with you, in every way possible that we can try to resource. 

We want to hear from you: what are the needs and so forth and we can have plenty of conversations about that going forward. But let’s do two more things here before we run out of time. You recently had your first annual summit. I was there, and we were privileged to be there, to help sponsor that event, and it was a great event. 

Tell us a couple of the highlights of that, and then from there, let’s shift into how people can learn more about you and perhaps want to get involved in your teams at the local level. 

DESCOVICH: We had our first national summit last month in July. And we brought over 500 moms and some dads to Tampa, Florida. And it was a great experience. We had about 3 and a half days. We brought in speakers like governor Ron Desantis, who welcomed all of our moms to the great state of Florida. 

First lady Casey DeSantis did a session with Tiffany, interview-style, and it was wonderful. Former U.S. Secretary of Ed Betsy DeVos joined us to kind of share—you know, tiffany and I saw we say behind the education curtain, but we know Betsey DeVos really saw behind the education curtain. So she shared a lot of her knowledge with our moms. So we had a lot of high-profile speakers. 

But you know the best part of the Summit really was bringing our moms together and the break-out sessions, we called them strategy sessions, where we would really dig in deep to gender ideology, Critical Race Theory, and Social-Emotional Learning. 

We brought in experts from all over the country. And we sent out a survey afterward and all of the reviews came back just top-notch. Great feedback, they found it very valuable. Leadership institute did a whole series of sessions for us, too, where they trained on how to run for school board, how to campaign, how to support your candidates and different strategies in that area. 

So it really was a place to come if you want to put tools in your toolbox and make a change in America today against this fight and the intrusion on our parental rights. 

ADAMS: So how about for people who want to get involved and learn more? 

JUSTICE: So if you’re watching this interview and you’re thinking, “Gees, I like that Moms for Liberty. I’d like to get involved.” Head to our website. It’s and you can learn a little bit more about us. You’ll see a big map on that webpage and you need to click on the map of your state and you get to see where the chapters that are currently located in your state are, and in which counties. 

We’re set up by county across the United States. We recognize there are multiple school districts within counties, but we felt it was the best way to be able to reach across the country. And so, again, look for where there are chapters in your county. If you don’t have a chapter in your county, you can click to start a chapter. 

And you need 10 like-minded people to join with you, you can’t do this alone. And that’s one thing that I think is very important that people need to understand. As much as you personally might feel the need to make this change happen, you can’t do it alone. 

You can’t even influence a school board member, you need an army behind you. And so when we talk about fighting for the survival of America, Tina and I very much are building an army of moms across the country. 

We refer to ourselves as joyful warriors. We will fight like heck with a smile on our faces for our children. And that’s because we believe in America and the American people and we trust that parents are the best experts for their own children. 

What American parents are seeing right now in education is extremely concerning. We have nearly two-thirds of American children who are not reading proficiently. 

And when we talk about the future of America, we believe this is the greatest threat we have to national security, a generation of children who cannot think for themselves, who cannot read, and who can be easily controlled by a government that has proven that at times, it does not have our best interest at heart. 

ADAMS: I think we’ve got time for one more question, so let me throw it out here… maybe it’s not so much a question. But our primary audience is three categories: parents and grandparents, educators, and legislators. I mean, these are the people who are the movers and shakers that have anything to do with education. They’re the decision-makers, they’re the ones that make things happen. 

And so as you are coordinating and facilitating this grassroots movement, as you are hearing from parents, what would you say to a parent that’s just discovering this? And tap into them to help them know that it’s okay for them to get involved. 

What about that teacher that is so concerned and they’re frustrated with all the agenda that’s being driven and all of the conflicts that they’re struggling with and what they know to be best practices in education yet all the mandates and other things are manipulating and forcing them? How can they respond appropriately? 

And then for legislators. Many of them want to do the right thing but they’re driven by votes. What is the right thing? And I know that’s kind of a big thing to end up with, but maybe some of the things that… what would you just respond to most directly? 

DESCOVICH: The simple answer to all of those concerns is a Moms for Liberty chapter. Your Moms for Liberty chapter will support parents, they will support educators that are ready to stand up and speak out. They will support legislators. 

As we have shown here in Florida, we’ve brought 200 moms to the capitol to stand for those legislators that were putting forward those hard bills. And they said that day, “We’re used to just getting attacked and attacked and yelled at and shut down, it was so nice to have a sea of people out there that we knew supported us in the gallery while we were voting, and were standing up for this bill.”

It sounds kind of simple just to say, “Your Moms for Liberty chapter”, but there’s strength in numbers, you’re not alone. There are so many educators, there are so many parents. Trust your gut. Because your gut is telling you what’s right, your gut is telling you where to go on this. Trust your gut and then find like-minded people, start a chapter, and join your chapter.

JUSTICE: Yeah, our mission statement is to unify, educate, and empower parents and community members are included in that. I want to make it clear that we may be Moms for Liberty because the mom is the heart of the home in many ways and the relationship between the mother and child is very important. 

I saw an op-ed that was written in the New York Times this weekend that said that maternal instinct is a myth created by men. This idea that everything is a social construct, that there’s no science or biology behind anything that happens with parents and children is just nonsense. 

And moms and dads know that. And so again, we’re not just moms. We’re dads, we’re grandparents, we’re aunts, we’re uncles. You don’t have to have children to get involved and be a part of our organization. But we are very much focused on that relationship between the parent and the child. 

Mr. Adams, what we are seeing is that public schools are driving a wedge between parents and children. I want to make it very clear that that’s not something that we’re fabricating or making up. 

We have public schools that are sitting down with children who are in middle school filling out 6 pages of forms and documents where different names and pronouns will be used at school and kept from the parents at home. 

This idea of a child living a double life and the government somehow caring about a child more than the parents and the family care about a child is nonsense. And at Moms for Liberty, we completely reject that. 

Our mission to unify, and link arms together, is very important. We recognize also that sometimes in school districts and communities there is backlash for standing up and speaking out and holding firm to your principles and your beliefs. 

But if you stand with like-minded people, you’ll have support and it’ll make that advocacy easier. In the education part, again everyone has a role to play. We need every American to dig down deep inside themselves and find what makes them special and what gifts they can share with parents and community members in order to reclaim our communities and this country. 

And then empowerment: when we unify parents and parents and community members are educated on the issues, they are empowered to make the change that they want to see. And there’s no time to waste. 

So get out there and use every gift that God has given you in this life to support parents and their relationship with their children. And support the fact that children need to learn to read. A life of children not reading… children learn to read up to third grade and then after third grade they read to learn. 

If the child cannot read, they are left with very few options in life and all of Americans can unite behind the idea that giving children the skills they need to be successful in life is something that is of great value to every American and the future of America. 

ADAMS: Amen, amen, amen! Ladies, thank you so much! Thank you for what you’re doing. It’s for such a time as this. That was kinda the motto of your summit and it can’t happen at a better time or a more critical time for our country, our families, and really (most importantly) for our children.

And so thank you for stepping up, thank you for taking the charge, there’s a whole lot of us out here working on these things, and as we work together, as we empower our parents and those grassroots people that are on the cutting edge, that’s where we’re going to see change. 

And I see it coming, I see it coming. And I know that you do too. So keep up the great work, thanks for spending time with us today. To all of our listeners, I want to encourage you to be strong and keep working hard. 

If you’ve got untapped resources, things that you can share out of your knowledge, wisdom, and treasures, plug into our organizations and let’s come together and make a massive difference in this country. And so thank you again ladies and thank you to all of you who are listening to our program today.