Teachers’ unions, Democrats and others are claiming that recent school board elections in the Midwest have turned the tide in favor of parents’ rights. This movement swept the nation in 2021.
The victories are especially notable in races where conservatives ran with a platform that was anti-critical race and anti-gender theories. The suburban races took place in the sky-blue suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee — which is hardly indicative of any other factor than the strength the teachers’ unions.
No official count has been made of the number of races won or lost. However, both sides agree on the need for better organization by the Parents’ Rights Coalition.
Kim Anderson, Executive Director of the National Education Association, said that voters did not respond to some issues raised by school board candidates. The takeaway is that voters, parents, and community members want candidates who focus on strengthening public schools and not abandoning them.
Teachers are not asked to “abandon public schools” by being told not to invent science or history. School choice is not the answer. Parents’ rights coalition must work to combat the lies of the left.
Labor groups and Democratic activists are still flexing their muscles over the defeats of candidates that they opposed in races near Chicago. These races received support of hundreds of thousands dollars from the state Democrats, and attracted the attention of Democratic Governor. JB Pritzker and in Wisconsin. Conservative candidates for board positions also had mixed results in Missouri, Oklahoma and other states.
Democrats hope that the spring election season will validate their playbook. They should coordinate with local party officials and educators unions to identify candidates who have a positive message about public education and portray competitors as extremists on the right.
Ryan Girdusky said earlier this month that “we lost more than won”. The 1776 Project is a conservative political action committee with ties to GOP billionaire Richard Uihlein, a megadonor.
“But we did not lose everything.” Girdusky, speaking to Politico about his group’s performance, said: “We didn’t lose everything.” “We pulled through and have to continue pushing forward.”
This spring, when school boards are traditionally elected across the country, will be a real test for these two groups. In 2022, the midterm elections were a wash in terms of who was running for pro- or anti-parental rights candidates.
These recent elections have shown that groups advocating for parents’ rights must tailor their message in order to appeal to a more moderate electorate, especially in states such as Illinois and Wisconsin.
Both parties can learn from the results as they prepare for more board elections in 2019.
Youngkin’s victory was due to his education, but his advisers stressed that the success of the campaign was based on custom messaging models that were targeted at different voter groups instead of relying solely on one message.
Girdusky said that conservative school campaigns would do well to follow the same advice.
He said: “Don’t assume a message about critical race theory, or transgender issues will be received by every district. It’s highly personalized.” If it is happening in the district, then speak out loudly. Don’t tell parents that something is happening when it’s not. It will make you look less serious.
America isn’t a country that has a single size for everyone, and neither should the way we run elections.