In recent years, Hillsdale College, a small private Christian school in Michigan, has quietly become a driving force in America’s ongoing fights around education. A “feeder school” for the Trump administration, Hillsdale led President Trump’s controversial 1776 Commission and serves as a testing ground for the right’s most ambitious ideasIn this three-part series, Salon looks at Hillsdale’s multifaceted and far-reaching role in shaping and disseminating the ideas and strategies that power the right.

“‘This is the sort of campaign that goes under the radar. It takes place school-by-school, district-by-district, and so doesn’t get that much national attention,’ said Jeff Bryant, a journalist with the Independent Media Institute who covered a Hillsdale charter fight in Colorado seven years ago, which sparked heated accusations that the proposed school was seeking to offer religious instruction in disguise. That charter ultimately passed, despite its request for numerous exemptions from state laws related to bullying, student privacy and discrimination, among others … [Hillsdale’s] charter efforts have largely gone unnoticed outside affected local communities — and, as journalist Jeff Bryant notes, have drawn little protest from Democrats.”