FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS by Steven Baldwin and Karen Holgate: “…some of the material was shocking…”

Steve: What inspired me to write from Crayons to Condoms is the incredible amount of frustration I sensed among parents. As chairman of the California State Assembly Education Committee, I was bombarded with letters from parents about the dismal state of their public schools and the refusal of school bureacrats to listen to their concerns.

I started to collect some of the worst stories and along with my co-author, Karen Holgate, we started thinking about putting them all together in a book. We made a first stab at the book over a decade ago and almost forgot about the project. Then about six months ago, I sent a rough draft to WND books and they loved it but wanted us to update it with some additional public school horror stories, which we did.

Karen: During the nineties, California implemented a new system of student testing called the California Learning Assessment System – or CLAS. This new “assessment system” focused on children’s attitudes, values, and beliefs rather than academic knowledge. When parents and grandparents learned about the invasive nature of the story prompts, and questions that delved into children’s and parents’ personal lives, they were outraged. As a grandmother with children in the public school system, I was one of those.

I found myself traveling to the state capitol in an effort to enlist the support of legislators to help stop CLAS. During this time, I also became aware of the federal legislation, Goals 2000 and School to Work (STW), which together appeared to encourage the type of paradigm shift that culminated in CLAS testing. The more I learned, the more alarmed I became. Soon I was traveling to Washington, D.C. to speak with members of Congress. As news about Goals 2000 and STW spread, I was surprised that I had become an “activist” and was traveling across the country speaking out about the troubling trend in education.

During this time, parents and teachers started telling me their stories and giving me examples of curricula, tests, and surveys that had nothing to do with academics. Some of the material was shocking in its graphic sexual depictions, while other examples were downright silly. For instance, one exercise told children to choose a tree, name it, visit it each day and talk to it – during school hours, of course. However, perhaps the scariest examples were those dealing with death education.

I had already met Steve Baldwin, then a California Assemblyman. Steve was the father of young boys whose primary concern was education. During one of my trips to Sacramento, I learned that he and I were hearing the same kinds of horror stories and the initial idea for a book was discussed.

After Steve term-limited out of office, he and his family moved to the east coast. However, we both have continued our interest in educational issues and our contact with parents. From Crayons to Condoms: The ugly truth about public education is a compilation of stories written by parents, teachers, and students. It is a tribute to those who have suffered as a result of laws passed by liberal legislators and educators who have their own agendas.

As Steve and I point out in the book, it is our hope that after reading From Crayons to Condoms that instead of saying, “That’s not happening in my child’s school,” parents will instead ask, “Is that happening in my child’s school?” We encourage parents to question what their children are being taught, to support good teachers and schools and to oppose that with which they disagree. The book gives positive steps parents can take to effectively fight when necessary.

Steven Baldwin and Karen Holgate are the authors of the nonfiction book, FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS. You can visit their publisher’s website at


9 thoughts on “FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS by Steven Baldwin and Karen Holgate: “…some of the material was shocking…”

  1. These stories are not unique to California. I recomment for your conscientious consideration The Twilight’s Last Gleaming On Public Education, a portion of which may be viewed online by contacting the publisher at, clicking on their Bookstore link, then Searching by title. This intriguing and socially relevant story examines the challenges, potential, and obstacles that currently litter the public education landscape. The author constructs a fascinating and enlightening story, which posseses many of the elements commonly found in just about every school system throughout the United States. Navigating the plot to a well-conceived and logical conclusion, the author strives to leave the reader with a sense of time well invested in the reading of this story. Check it out for yourself. Your comments are welcome for consideration in future editions of the continuing story.

  2. Pingback: Pump Up Your Book Promotion June Authors on Tour - Day 7! « Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours

  3. Count me among the frustrated parents. My daughter can’t read yet, but she sure knows about saving the environment and can give a great lecture during a car ride about horrible people polluting the air and the water.

  4. This is a good book to point out what’s wrong in public schools but what is the answer to that? Is it to only improve public schools? Should the government be in the business of educating our children in the first place? What would the founders of our nation have thought about the government educating our children?

  5. And this suprises you? Our schools will not change until the parents homeschool fulltime; homeschool partime and educate their children teaching them to thwart what some teachers teach; demand vouchers; break the back of the National Education Association (powerful teachers union); go into open rebellion by forming a powerful parents union and continue by educating new parents coming into the school system. It’s estimated that in Britain parents are turning to homeschooling at the rate of an additional 17% of students every year. The Brits are going through this same crap and their homeschooling numbers according to some estimates may be as high as 25%.

    • Whatever the advantages (or otherwise) of homeschooling, I can categorically state that this 25% figure is way off the mark for Britain.

      Things are pretty bad with our state schools though, especially the mindset among teachers that “every child must have a gold star”. If every child is a winner, then no child is.

      Having said that, there are some positive aspects of modern British schooling. Homophobia, which is rife in schools, is being effectively tackled for the first time:

  6. Its past time that we stand up and fight for our children.The public school system is quick to take God out of the equation,yet they will force ungodly principals and beleifs on them.When it gets to the point that people would rather come out of the closet than clean it,prepare for the judgement of God to fall.if you want to see children living write start handing out bibles in stead of condomns in school.we have eliminated the very reason this nation was first founded.What happened to IN GOD WE TRUST.Take a stand and send this evil lifestile back to satan and make a stand.One kingdome under God is our demand.Let the word of God revive our land.

  7. I wish someone would think of a way to help parents realize and take a stand against what is going on. If parents said no and take their kids out of school,something might be done. There can be no school without kids. It seems that the schools want to get the parents feeling like they are part of the school and I ??? what is the reason behind this. THEY USE ALL KIND OF WAYS TO GET PARENTS BEHIND WHAT IS GOING N. tHE SCHOOLS ARE GETTING WORSE,SO WHAT THEY ARE DOING ISnot WORKING. pARENTS ,PLEASECHECK OUT WHAT is HAPPENING AT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL

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