Something strange is happening with our school boards. In the past few years, local school board elections went from being low-funded, grassroots campaigns to becoming battlegrounds for extremist takeovers. National conservative political groups are pouring excessive amounts of money into these races to get extremists elected to school boards all across America. And it’s happening in your district too.
In 2021, school board races started getting more attention as extremists began manipulating the frustration parents were feeling about COVID-era school closures (You might have even had conversations with parents in your community who were extremely upset over school closures and mask mandates). That frustration created an opening for outside groups. They latched on to that anger and used it to turn those parents against public schools. And then suddenly, we had a loud, vocal minority of parents disrupting school board meetings, demanding that schools re-open and that mask mandates stop.
In the midst of this chaos, Moms for Liberty was founded, and those same parents who were angry about masks started speaking up at school board meetings about other things – wanting to ban books, attacking school curriculum, and gutting diversity and equity policies. And these attacks didn’t just happen at school board meetings. They started targeting school board members at their homes. Suddenly being a school board member, or even an advocate for public education, could result in personal attacks.
What’s even more disturbing is that these school board fights are meant to look like grassroots efforts, but in reality they’re actually part of a larger attempt by extremist groups to take over school boards and eventually dismantle public education. If that sounds pretty extreme, it’s because it is. And many extremist politicians are actually saying it out loud. And that’s really the bottom line here: public education benefits all of our kids, but extremists want to take it away.
These attacks are hurting our public schools, our teachers and most importantly our kids. Children shouldn’t be paying the price for extremism – but they are. And that’s why we–as parents, educators, and community members–need to know what’s going on.