Public Schools

Chaos is the point: Moms for Liberty and the attack on public education

  Rob Boston

Last week on AU’s “Wall of Separation” blog we noted the defeats suffered by the extremist Christian Nationalist group Moms for Liberty in a string of school board races around the country.

It’s worth taking a closer look at one of the districts where Moms for Liberty candidates were swept out of office. Doing so lets us see that the true goal of this group is to spawn chaos in public education, not boost “parental rights.”

Central Bucks School District fell under control of an extremist faction

Two years ago, the school board of the Central Bucks School District in Doylestown, Pa., west of Philadelphia, fell under control of an extreme right-wing faction after three conservative candidates, two of whom were members of Moms for Liberty, were elected. They joined existing conservatives on the board to form a 6-3 far-right majority.

Isabela Dias, writing for Mother Jones, noted what happened next: “[C]ontentious disputes about race and gender, personal attacks, calls for resignation, and even paper-throwing-chair-winging altercations seem to have become regular occurrences at Central Bucks’ school board meetings. Once a source of pride, the 18,000-student school district sends almost 90 percent of graduating high schoolers to colleges and universities and is home to some of the best high schools in PennsylvaniaBut it is now a cautionary tale – in the state and beyond – for what can happen when outside money and national extremist politics seep into local school board elections with effects that drastically change the social dynamics of a community.”

Rather than focus on student improvement, the right-wing board obsessed over culture-war issues, calling for book bans and restrictions on the rights of transgender students. School board meetings became shouting matches that made national headlines.

CBSD Neighbors United vowed to end Moms for Liberty’s reign of terror

Alarmed parents and community leaders fought back. Five candidates formed a slate called CBSD Neighbors United, vowing to end Moms for Liberty’s reign of terror. On Nov. 7, all five were elected, flipping control of the board. (A separate slate of candidates running in another Bucks County school district, Pennridge, also ousted Moms for Liberty candidates and flipped the board.)

It’s always helpful to step back and look at the big picture: The goal of groups like Moms for Liberty is to sow chaos. They make a mess of things, then scream, “Look at this mess! We need to privatize our schools.” Despite what they may say in campaign literature, these people don’t support the fundamental mission of public education, which is to welcome and educate all our children; in fact, they don’t support public education at all.

Residents of Bucks County had to learn the hard way what Moms for Liberty wants to do. Let their experience be a lesson to parents in other parts of the country. Moms for Liberty and its allies do indeed have a goal for public education: They seek its destruction.

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