The midterm elections didn’t quite sweep Democrats out of power. However, some positive developments occurred, especially in noteworthy state and local elections.
The parental rebellion against wokeness, radical gender ideology, and misguided COVID-19 policies continued, producing some solid results in school board elections across America. Again, it wasn’t a red tidal wave, but commonsense candidates found success in an arena long dominated by the Left and public sector unions.
Unions still dominate at the local level—in both organization and money—but the landscape is changing.
Though they are often “nonpartisan,” school board elections have become a serious battleground in debates over K-12 education. Nonpartisan does not mean that there isn’t a serious debate about ideas. As local schools—even in “red” districts—increasingly promoted critical race theory and radical gender ideology alongside stringent COVID-19 lockdowns, parents began organizing in earnest.
What we’ve seen in the past few years is organized parental groups insisting on having their voices heard in school board meetings—much to the consternation of Attorney General Merrick Garland. They’ve put forth candidates to transform school boards from the inside too.
A few national organizations, such as the 1776 Project PAC and Moms for Liberty, added much-needed support and financial backing for citizens to step into the arena to save their local schools.
For instance, Bridget Ziegler, a Florida mom who not only won her Sarasota County School Board election back in August, now helps educate other potential candidates as the Leadership Institute’s director of school board programs.
This kind of organization and institutional support has proved invaluable and means that campaigns once dominated by left-leaning insiders are now open and competitive.
Over the past year, the 1776 Project says it has flipped more than 100 races nationwide.
And some big wins came during the midterm elections. These groups helped flip school board elections in Florida, Maryland, Indiana, and Michigan, according to The Daily Caller.
“Of the 67 candidates Moms for Liberty supported in Florida school board elections, 41 won,” the Caller reported.
An impressive record, especially given that many of the group’s candidates are political neophytes, running for office for the first time in their lives.
The Left has taken notice. Big, left-wing media outlets are starting to write lengthy hit job pieces on Moms for Liberty. The message: The notion that critical race theory has embedded itself into K-12 education is a right-wing fantasy, but trying to stop it is racist.
The New Yorker, for instance, said that such efforts were a “manufactured culture war over critical race theory.” If the culture war is manufactured, why is the Left so concerned about it? Maybe left-wing activists are just nervous that someone is fighting back and not simply ceding schools to them without a fight.
Here’s how the New Yorker described victories for education freedom—a phrase it put in scare quotes—in the midterms:
A clown-car school board race in Charleston, South Carolina, ended with five out of nine seats going to Moms for Liberty-backed candidates. Governor Ron DeSantis—the maestro of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation and a home-state hero to Moms for Liberty—endorsed six school board candidates, all of whom won their races; Moms for Liberty endorsed a total of 12 in Florida, winning nine. In Texas, 10 out of 15 spots on the state school board appeared to be going to Republicans, including three seats in which GOP incumbents either lost or dropped out of their primary when facing opponents who took a harder line against CRT.
Bad news for The New Yorker is good news for America.
Saving education in this country is a multifront battle. Of course, school choice opportunities for parents and students are essential. Florida, for instance, has by many measures, one of the best set of school choice programs in the country.
But plenty of students continue to attend public schools. Despite what the Left says, parents have every right to shape education in those schools too.
Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had a great response Monday to the National Education Association, the largest public sector union in the United States, after the NEA’s Twitter account suggested that teachers know what’s best for children.
That parents are participating in school board elections is a great thing for self-government in America. Those who are so insistent that “democracy” is under threat apparently are upset by this development.
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