A Pennsylvania teachers union conference featured a session on fighting parental rights advocacy.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association’s southern region conference last week featured a session on “Combatting Moms for Liberty Attacks on our Teachers and our Schools.”
Moms for Liberty is a grassroots nonprofit organization formed by moms who were former school board members whose members advocate for parental rights in schools across the country.
“Moms for Liberty jumped onto the political scene in 2021 at the height of the pandemic,” the session description says. “Seemingly overnight, an army of parents and community members started showing up at board meetings with a coordinated message, aggressively protesting the teaching of the misnomer ‘critical race theory’ and the wearing of Covid masks.”
Based on Marxist ideology, critical race theory says everything in public and private life must consider racial identities. Moms for Liberty encourages parents to advocate for their children’s education against schools that teach children that America is systemically racist.
With roughly 180,000 members, the Pennsylvania State Education Association is the largest public employee union in the state. It is an affiliate of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the country.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association gives millions of dollars to Democratic candidates, including $775,000 to Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign and more than $1 million to Democratic legislative candidates that year.
Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice said the union’s anti-parent session means her grassroots parental rights organization is on the right track.
“When your enemy names you as their enemy, it looks like we’re right on target,” she told The Daily Signal. “I think the teachers unions are the biggest enemy of public education.”
Moms for Liberty is fighting to reclaim education from teachers unions that prioritize the desires of adults over the needs of children, the mother of four said.
“My view is that the public education system is failing, and that there are many attempts to hide that educational failure from the American public,” Justice said. “But American parents are wise to all of this. What the teachers unions want is not representative of parents and families and teachers.”
Only 3 in 10 Pennsylvania eighth graders are proficient in math, an 11-percentage point decline from 2019, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress data.
Teachers unions falsely pedal the idea that Moms for Liberty is against public education, Justice said.
“Most people don’t fight for things they don’t care about. And we’re fighting for public education,” she said. “We’re going to reclaim it from the teachers unions. And then we’re going to reform it and make it work for kids.”
The presenter of the session, Lauri Lebo, accused Moms for Liberty of “targeting” public education and teachers unions.
“M4L chapters are now targeting school board races across the country and here in Southern Region,” the description says. “This session will explore the dark-money origins of this astroturf organization and its real long-term goal, as well as provide strategies on how to defeat them in the ballot box and at the board meeting.”
Lebo did not respond to questions about the union’s understanding of Moms for Liberty’s true goal. Justice said the long-term goal of her organization “is to defend our parental rights at all levels of government and to reclaim and reform public education.”
“We’re exposing the educational failure happening across the country,” Justice said. “Parents all across the country are making education and parental rights a priority.”
There is no proof that Moms for Liberty is funded by so-called dark money as the union claims, Justice said.
“Union leadership has to lie to teachers about us because if they told the truth, that we really want to help teachers, and we want to make sure kids get what they need at schools, and we want to make sure teachers are paid well to make sure that money isn’t being sucked from them into dues that are used for political action, then they would lose membership,” she explained.
“There are a lot more teachers joining Moms for Liberty than joining unions these days,” Justice said.
Justice and fellow mom Tina Descovich founded Moms for Liberty in 2021 after serving on their local school boards and seeing that schools were not focused enough on children, they said. Moms for Liberty is disrupting the power of teachers unions in public education, Justice stated.
“The teachers unions have had a lot of control and power for a very long time,” she said. “And they recognize the fact that we’re stepping in and we’re taking that control and power away from them.”
“They should be worried.”
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.