2021 was initially set to be an uneventful election cycle. Most Americans only concern themselves with the presidential election cycle every four years, and slightly more diligent voters pay attention to the Congressional midterm elections that occur at the half point between presidential elections. The first and third years are usually reserved for local elections, state constitution amendments, and ballot proposals. Next Tuesday may see a significantly higher turnout with numerous school board seats now seeing contention from upset parents (https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-elections-education-race-and-ethnicity-racial-injustice-f3e0a8198edae71980f942f2eb5ea172).
Since the school year has started, parents have spoken up about their displeasure with the public school system. Some of the primary issues they have addressed are Critical Race Theory, sex education/exposure to LGBTQ+ ideas, and COVID protocols. They have shown up in full force to school boards meetings and now they are gunning for spots on the board itself. Others are turning to school choice and homeschooling as alternatives. Several counties across the country are seeing a significant increase in coverage, and many seats that were usually uncontested are now in question.
School boards have pushed back, arguing that they are just trying to provide opportunities for greater diversity and inclusion. Guilford, CT Superintendent Paul Freeman said, “There have been direct accusations in Guilford that teachers are bullying and indoctrinating children in leftist political agenda. That could not be more wrong.” More controversially, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe recently said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Many school board members are concerned that new members will hinder their efforts and cause a stalemate for the foreseeable future. The Justice Dept. has even stepped in, likening parent protests to domestic terrorism, however no formal action has been taken by the FBI.
Do these parents have legitimate grounds for complaints or are they overreacting? Will this trend bring greater attention to future local elections? Will these elections have a greater impact on the midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election?
Image Credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill