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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Conflicts over Race and Gender Stoke Vote by Texas’s School Board

Parents are starting political action committees, knocking on doors, and engaging in online debates

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UNITED STATES: “Teach ABCs + 123s, Not CRTs & LGBTs” is a frank campaign slogan that stands out in this Texas town’s congested crossroads among the candidate signs.

In Round Rock, an Austin suburb that is expanding quickly and becoming more diverse, school board elections have become a blood sport.

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Parents are starting political action committees, knocking on doors, and engaging in online debates. What have traditionally been nonpartisan elections are now attracting the attention of national interest organizations, political parties, and unions.

The “One Family” slate, which consists of five conservative candidates for the school board, claims to be led by Don Zimmerman. The group rails against “political correctness” in educational institutions, “leftist” teachers’ unions, “pornography” in school libraries, and LGBTQ-welcoming policies.

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Critical race theory (CRT), which contends that racism and prejudice are ingrained in American institutions and laws, is one of their main objectives.

Despite denials from public schools across the country that they teach the college-level theory, it has come to be used as a blanket term by opponents of legislation that fosters inclusion and equity.

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Conservatives nationwide are now using this resentment to their advantage. Republicans running for reelection in November have made “parental rights” a central issue, including Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Moms for Liberty and other grassroots organizations have pushed legislators, and outside PACs like the 1776 Project have raised money nationwide to support hand-selected school board candidates.

These initiatives demonstrate how Republicans, who already hold the majority of state legislatures and governorships nationwide and who seem poised to take control of at least one chamber of Congress in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections on November 8, are attempting to consolidate power at the local level.

Following a resolution in which it expressed its worry about “political indoctrination in the classroom,” the Texas Republican Party last month approved the conservative slate.

Access Education, a Round Rock-based political action committee founded by a group of frightened parents who lean liberal, received nearly $30,000 in donations as of October 11.

Along with the county Democratic Party, the local teachers’ union has nominated a group of more leftist candidates.

Every Sunday, Meenal McNary, an Access Education member, arranges meetings at her home where about a dozen neighborhood women gather to discuss the school board election.

Also Read: 19 Children Killed in Texas Elementary School Shooting

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