December 15, 2022

Jennifer Job: Taking Our School Boards Back

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In the latest issue of The Progressive, North Carolina public education activist Jennifer Job writes about a successful attempt to take a local school board back from extremists. In particular, they found themselves opposing Moms for Liberty candidates–a not uncommon issue these days.

No matter which county chapter’s website one visits, from Morris, New Jersey, to El Paso, Colorado, to Santa Clara, California, the mission and issues listed are the same. The county chapters are handed the same talking points from the national office to spread within their communities. This was no different for the Moms for Liberty-endorsed candidates in Wake County.

They speak against vaccine mandates, even though there has not been one suggested for the district, or masking policies, even though the mask mandate in Wake County schools ended almost a year ago. They harangue the board about books they want banned from the library that have not been checked out in years. They accuse teachers of “grooming” students. And their supporters in the audience cheer them on.

The rightwing 2022 candidates for board of education (all nine seats were up for election) carefully incorporated Moms for Liberty language into their campaigns, as with Katie Long’s “transparency curriculum” and “parents’ rights” in District Seven, as mentioned above, or in District Eight, where Steve Bergstrom’s signs touted “Give Schools Back to Parents.”

But their complaints don’t hold up. “The candidates don’t sit through the entire meeting, and neither do the Moms for Liberty crowds,” Book tells The Progressive. “In the spring [of 2022], the school board produced the draft budget. And here is this group complaining about lack of transparency, but they were totally uninterested and refused to listen to the meeting. They left early. They just aren’t about providing a sound basic education for every child.”

Instead, their aims are clear: Remove protections for LGBTQ+ students, defund the new Office of Equity Affairs, and rid the curriculum of anything that makes white, middle-class parents uncomfortable.

It’s an encouraging story. Read the whole piece here.

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