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Anti-LGBTQ School Board Candidates Drown In Own 'Red Wave'
Turns out a lot of voters don't want Aunt Lydia running the third grade.
The far-Right culture warriors pushing to ban books, restrict any classroom references to LGBTQ+ folks' existence (or Black people in history for that matter), and possibly ban all rainbows too had only limited successes in school board elections Tuesday, at least as far as we can tell. We're sure a really rigorous nationwide analysis will emerge, from education researchers who aren't gleaning their data from Google on a deadline like some filthy politics blogger.
There are definitely some places where school boards have indeed been taken over by anti-LGBTQ wingnuts. But as the crazies have gotten louder, there are also plenty of examples of their views being soundly rejected by voters who are sick of their kids being targets in the Culture Wars and just want schools with fully stocked libraries and no interference from religious bigots whose open aim is ending public education. Some snapshots!
Texas: GOP-Backed Candidates Bite The Big Lone Star
In Round Rock, Texas, a suburb north of Austin, the Texas Republican Party sponsored its own slate of five school board candidates to bring decency and patriotism to the godless libs living in the area, and every last one of the GOP-sponsored candidates lost, NBC News reports. Charmingly, one of the candidates ran on the slogan "Teach ABCs + 123s, Not CRTs & LGBTs," which sounds to us like a bigot's version of a Dr. Bronner's soap bottle. Happily, the voters replied, "Dilute! Dilute!" and washed the wingnuts right out of their schools.
Unfortunately, because people who want to protect children know the Prince of Peace is on their side, the election got very charming; NBC affiliate KXAN reports that one of the incumbent board members, Tiffanie Harrison, said that during the summer she'd been sent
crude packages and the contents of one allegedly contained used feminine products. She said since being elected, she has faced similar harassment that is intensifying in the final months of the election.
She won reelection anyway, against a guy whose campaign focused on dirty school books and CRT of course.
Statewide, NBC News says, only two of the 11 school board candidates with state GOP support actually won seats, while the others
lost by wide margins. School board candidates running on platforms focused on critical race theory and sexually explicit library books also performed poorly in the nearby Leander Independent School District, and in a pair of right-leaning suburbs outside of Houston.
Here's our Grand Theory of Wingnuts: In lower-level elections where there's often little community engagement, it's easy for virulently rightwing candidates to rack up wins — but once people start paying attention, and they will, the next bunch will get stomped. Thank you for coming to our TED talk. [ NBC News / KXAN ]
And Then There's Fuckin' FLORIDA
Ron DeSantis and the Florida Republican Party have been in the business of pushing for school Gileadization longer than Texas has — including at least one direct replacement of Democrats on a school board, under the pretext of "mismanaging" school safety funds — so it shouldn't be too surprising that all six school board candidates endorsed by DeSantis won in runoff elections held Tuesday. Of 30 school board candidates endorsed by DeSantis this year, 24 won seats. As in Texas, school board races are nominally nonpartisan, but the GOP and big PACs are getting increasingly involved, as are Democrats who are playing catch-up, so political pundits can now cry "both sides" are polarizing education.
In one glaring example, the 1776 PAC, which opposes critical race theory in schools, endorsed 49 candidates in Florida throughout 21 counties — more than even DeSantis .
Parental rights groups also played a role, such as the conservative Moms for Liberty , which endorsed 12 school board candidates in Florida and donated to campaigns. Florida Democrats endorsed 20 candidates ahead of the general election.
Come on, guys, at least put "parental rights" in quotes. They want public funds to move from public schools to private religious schools and homeschooling parents, and to tightly restrict whatever's still taught in any remaining public schools until they can be liquidated. [ Politico ]
Indiana: Some Wins For Sanity, Some Losses
Independent reporter Erin Reed has been following the anti-LGBTQ+ political movement closely, and notes that in the Tippecanoe School Corporation (yeesh, no "districts" for Indiana?) in Lafayette, Indiana, two candidates pushing for LGBTQ book bans and other crap lost their races , hooray! While we were checking Lafayette's Gannet paper for more info, we found that in another district, the Lafayette School Corporation, the incumbent board vice president lost his reelection bid to Chuck Hockema, a dude sponsored by the "Tippe Citizens' Devolution of Education," the same rightwing "parental rights" group that sponsored the two losing candidates in Tippecanoe. Tyler was not available for comment. Hockema's statement on the group's website is A LOT:
Trustworthiness, honesty, integrity and being a conservative Christian are my life's values.
I strongly oppose any ideology that teaches OR:
1. Undermines traditional values and beliefs.
2. Promotes gender confusion
3. Encourages peer to peer sex education
4. Violates or undermines parental rights
5. Supports CRT (Critical Race Theory) or SEL (Social Emotional Learning) when used as a cover for divisive instruction (“Privilege”, et al).
6. Promotes WOKE ideology (Change of descriptive pronouns, etc.)
(See ISAIAH 5: 20-21)
Wonkette public service: The Bible stuff is about what you'd expect.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
North Carolina: Dems Keep BibleBangers From Taking School Board
Reed also highlighted a big win in the Wake County, North Carolina, school board elections — also officially nonpartisan — where candidates supported by the Wake County Democratic Party took seven of the nine seats. Four were incumbents, and the Dems added three new board members. A slate of GOP-backed candidates had sought to take over the board, but only two of the would-be book censors and purity monitors managed to win seats. They'll no doubt work harmoniously with their colleagues, at least when not calling them pedos and groomers.
One of the losing Republican candidates, Michele Morrow (It's always one l, isn't it?), attended the January 6 election denial rally, and during the campaign "apologized" for tweets in which she had called for Islam to be banned in God's USA and also for a ban on Muslims holding office. Needless to say, she homeschools her own kids. The school board will surely regret not having her expertise to rely upon. She was defeated by a truly polar opposite, Tyler Swanson, a former teacher in the district who campaigned on his record of being arrested during the Moral Monday protests against racial gerrymandering and vote suppression by the state's GOP legislators. [ News & Observer ]
Michigan Township Would Rather Hate Gays Than Have Public Library
Voters in Jamestown Township, Michigan, voted for a second time against a tax measure to fund the Patmos Library, which means that unless more funding comes through, the library will close for good in the fall of 2024. The library funding was opposed by the usual rightwing "concerned citizens" who were convinced children would catch the Ghey from library books with LGBT characters. A previous vote on funding the library with property taxes failed in August, and although the headlines that vote generated led to a successful crowdfunding effort, you really can't run a public library forever on donations. We're sure there will be more crowdfunding and another vote on taxes somewhere down the line, and who knows, maybe the MAGA fever will go down at some point. [ Holland Sentinel ]
Ohio: State Board Of Ed Gets Three Non-Crazy Board Members
Three candidates who oppose rightwing culture war assaults on public education were elected to the 19-member Ohio State Board of Education, which has 11 elected members and eight who are appointed by the governor (you could tell us that, Cleveland Dot Com!). The three new members were elected with substantial support from teachers' unions, Crom bless them, and defeated candidates sponsored by "Ohio Value Voters." Wingnuts on the state board last year overturned an antiracism resolution that had been passed after the murder of George Floyd; two of the losers Tuesday were incumbents who'd voted for racism. A third chose not to run for reelection.
The new members will have to get right to work on defeating a proposed resolution that
would urge local school districts to defy Title IX protections for LGBTQ students that are being proposed by President Joe Biden’s administration, potentially putting federal money for free and reduced lunch and special education in jeopardy.
That resolution remains under consideration and does Cleveland.com tell us how many righties remain on the board or its chances of passing? Why would a newspaper mention that? [ Cleveland.com ]
We're sure we'll have more wingnut school and library board results for you; the most optimistic thing we can point out is that most people don't want education policy set by the small but loud minority of activists who respond to moral panics. But first, they have to know that it's a threat, and sometimes by the time kids are asking why the library had to close and there's no more summer reading program, it's too late.
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