Urgent Call: Get Out the Vote for School Board Elections

We need to turn out in numbers as they did in Lowndes County, Alabama, on election day in 1966 — or young people won’t even be allowed to learn this history. Photo by Jim Peppler, ADAH.

Although it is tough to mobilize voters for mid-term elections, we urgently need to turn up for the upcoming school board races. Each vote truly makes a difference.

Across the country, right-wing politicians have been passing anti-history, anti-truth legislation in the guise of banning “divisive” curricula. These statewide attacks on teachers and students have been joined by a concerted, Koch funded effort to take over school boards. This strategy is described in an article by Peter Montgomery, “Right-wing groups training activists to take over school boards as part of ‘critical race theory’ campaign strategy: Wealthy Republican-affiliated groups are raising money to ‘train’ candidates to run for office as the GOP seeks a second Tea Party movement”:

The right-wing campaign to stifle teaching and discussion about racism in U.S. history and institutions is fear-mongering about critical race theory to mobilize right-wing activists and conservative voters to take over local school boards.

The Leadership Institute, which has trained generations of right-wing activists, is promoting a 20-hour online course to train conservatives how to run for their local school boards in order to “stop the teaching of Critical Race Theory before it destroys the fabric of our nation.”

We also recommend reading The right-wing operatives orchestrating the attack on America’s school boards by Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria, and Rebecca Crosby in Popular Information.

Those of us who know the importance truth-telling in schools do not have as much funding as the right. However, we do have the numbers. We need to put those numbers into action in defense of teachers and in defense of young people learning from history to shape a better future. Here is what you can do between now and the November election:

  1. Find out if there are school board elections in your area here.

  2. Find out who is running for school board and what they are saying.

    • Search their social media accounts and review their public commentary.

    • If they are running for re-election, find out how they have voted on issues.

  3. Get the word out about school board candidates good or bad. Tell colleagues. If you have a union, make sure their endorsements are solid.

  4. Vote on election day. In mid-terms, every vote counts!

Also, consider testifying at school board meetings to let Board members know how the anti-truth bills impact education from a teacher perspective. This fact sheet was published by the National Center for Science Education to help prepare people to testify before a school board meeting. Although it addresses anti-evolution policies, the content is applicable to anti-truth policies as well.

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