Written by Jack Elbaum
What’s happening: The parents’ rights in education movement — which weakened the stranglehold teachers unions have on children's education — lost some school board races in last week’s elections.
The details: Teachers union-backed candidates won in two closely watched, bellwether school board races in suburban Pennsylvania. Republicans lost their 6-3 majority in Central Bucks after focusing on parents’ concerns about curriculum during its term. And Republicans lost an 8-1 majority in Pennridge School District.
- Dropping numbers: Parents’ rights group Moms for Liberty-endorsed candidates won only one-third of their races, whereas the number was 45% in prior years. Candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project, an alternative curriculum advocacy organization, won 59% of their races, down from 76% in 2021.
- The progressive candidates for school boards campaigned against conservative efforts to restrict books, claiming it was harmful to gay and transgender students.
Why it matters: Education has become an increasingly important and successful, issue for Republicans in the wake of teachers union forced school closures since 2020. Glenn Youngkin won the governorship in Virginia in large part thanks to parents who wanted more education freedom.
- Not just Virginia: That nationwide movement elected more Republicans to school boards and to state legislatures. And for the first time, voters said they trust Republicans more than Democrats on education.
- Republican results: Parents’ rights wins at the local and statewide levels across the country brought with them an unprecedented expansion of education freedom and other sweeping reforms in education. Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah are but a few states that passed universal school choice and curriculum transparency bills.
Bottom line: These election results suggest since powerful teachers unions are losing at statewide levels, they’re turning their focus to winning back some local school board seats they lost in recent years by appealing to voters’ fears of so-called “book bans.”