Be careful what you wish for — you may just get it. Democrats hoped to boost turnout among their core voters by going all-in on pushing critical race theory into school curricula. Instead, Politico reports, they have set a fire at the grassroots level for their opponents — and everyone in between too:
But those Democrats appear to be underestimating parents’ anger in places where critical race theory is top of mind. Objections to new equity plans are not the sole province of conservatives but extend to many moderate and independent voters, according to POLITICO interviews with school board members, political operatives and activists in Democratic and left-leaning communities including the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; New York’s Westchester County; Maricopa County covering Phoenix, Ariz.; and suburban Detroit.
Parents who are showing up to school board meetings and have helped launch a spate of recall elections say they are angry about a host of issues, including what they see as a myopic focus on diversity at school boards, ongoing frustration over a year of closed schools and school lesson plans that they say are becoming too progressive, too fast. While those complaints have often been branded in the media as “anti-critical race theory,” the causes of the anger are varied, and are being ignored, parents say.
Even some normally reliable Democratic voters are rethinking their allegiance:
One parent in Novi, Mich., a diverse suburb outside Detroit with prized public schools, said she started reading up on critical race theory after her daughter, a recent high school graduate, started raising the idea of defunding police departments and arguing that rioters who looted stores during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests were justified.
The parent — who asked to not be named because of the heated politics in Novi — said she has in the past voted for Democrats, but she considers her daughter’s ideas “radical.” She and other parents formed an anonymous group to question the school board.
“Based on everything I have seen in the last year, starting with Covid, I cannot continue [voting for Democratic candidates] in good faith,” she said.
Parents have been sending their children to college and getting back activists in return for decades. Lately, though, it seems that’s all the return they get from higher education, except for life-crippling debt on their sons and daughters. This cycle seems especially fraught politically for Democrats after a year of agitation, especially because Democrats have explicitly chosen sides with the agitators — a mistake they haven’t made in decades.
It’s bad enough for parents that Democrats won’t stand up to teachers unions and demand that schools reopen. Now they’re pushing highly debatable ideology onto their children rather than provide a clearer focus on basic education, where American schools have been sliding toward mediocrity and worse. It’s nothing less than a hijacking of the education of children for partisan purposes, and parents will resent it — nearly all the way across the political spectrum.
Democrats are going out of their way to make themselves vulnerable. What is surprising is that Republicans seem slow to take advantage of it. Politico never even mentions school choice in this analysis, perhaps because so few Republicans are mentioning it. With schools closed and school boards pushing radical political education on children, this is a perfect time for the GOP to begin pushing hard for school choice and voucher programs. In fact, it should be the biggest domestic policy priority in the midterms. Nothing connects better with parents than policies aimed at improving conditions for their children, and education is one of their top concerns.
There’s no better time to dismantle the Democrats’ grip on education policy. Time to start the debate before another generation of children get lost.