Partisanship Grows In School Board Elections Across The U.S., And North Carolina

Source: The Daily Tar Heel

A tiny but extremely vocal minority has fueled the manufactured outrage against educators, students and public education in the last few years. The peddling of misinformation and extremist rhetoric has helped bolster changes in the classrooms and the makeup of school boards across the country. 

Year, after year, the growing extremist movement has funneled its own far-right candidates in school board races, resulting in more partisan school board elections. 

According to The Daily Tarheel, over 50 school boards in the state are partisan or will be by 2024.

Michael Bitzer, the politics department chair at Catawba College, told The Daily Tarheel, that the increase of partisanship in school boards comes from polarization within state legislatures and national issues shaping local educational debates.

“With super-majorities in the state legislature, Republicans are seeking to align as many offices within their grasp as they can, to ensure partisan politics are apparent when voters cast their ballots for these offices,” Bitzer told The Daily Tarheel in an email

A law passed by the Republican-led state legislature made school board elections in Catawba, Hickory, Newton-Conover and Polk districts partisan, starting next year, according to The Daily Tarheel

Last week’s municipal elections showcased the growing prevalence of partisanship within local school board elections, however, voters across the country pushed back against groups that have historically implanted more partisan candidates in many of these races.

Far-right groups such as Moms for Liberty, which mirrors white supremacist agendas from the past, has become notorious for populating local school boards with extremist candidates.

Despite national polls finding that most Americans, including nearly half of Republicans, oppose banning certain books in schools, far-right candidates and groups such as Moms for Liberty uses divisive, discriminatory issues as their central campaign.

As evident in elections across the country, Democrats, and voters are fighting back against the surge of extremist candidates and destructive Republicans policies dominating public education. 

Democrats swept school board races in states like Iowa, Connecticut and Virginia, as well as the new Democratic control of the Virginia state legislature.

“Yesterday, voters across the country had an opportunity to vote for the health and wellbeing of our students and democracy. And their votes sent a resounding message – we don’t like political interference when it comes to our kids. Parents fought for their children and won. Yesterday’s results shined a spotlight on the candidates who ran for the wrong reasons, and politicians should take notice,” stated Heather Harding, Ed.D, Executive Director of the Campaign for Our Shared Future, in a press release
Let’s continue to put the right people in place for the job and fight for family and community voices to be the driving force behind transforming education.”


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