The Media Demonized Parents' Rights. Now They've Found a Group They Like.

Spoiler alert: They're progressives

Parents rally outside Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church, Va., to oppose a Fairfax County School Board vote.
June 28, 2023

As far as the media are concerned, parents just don't understand.

For years, the mainstream media warned about the nefarious influence of parents who dared to run for school board elections after growing concerned with what their children were learning.

Associated Press: "Some School Systems Pause Diversity Programs Amid Pushback":

In some districts, proposals aimed at making schools more welcoming places for students from diverse backgrounds have been reversed as a result of turnover on school boards, while work elsewhere faces a chill from acrimonious debate around topics that have been mislabeled as critical race theory.

School administrators say critical race theory, a scholarly theory that centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions, is not taught in K-12 schools. But that has done little to sway opponents who assert that school systems are misspending money, perpetuating divisions and shaming white children by pursuing initiatives they view as critical race theory in disguise.

In a fraught political climate that already had escalated fights about pandemic mask and vaccine requirements, divisions are taking a toll, said Dan Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association.

ABC News: "Teachers, Librarians Targeted by Angry Parents Over LGBTQ Books Speak Out":

A middle school teacher in Illinois says she was forced to resign from her job after parents called the police on her for including the book "This Book is Gay" in a slate of books made available to students during a reading activity.

Sarah Bonner, who has been a teacher for roughly 20 years, says she is just one of many teachers facing pressure from certain parents to shun LGBTQ identities from classrooms.

CNN: "Activist Moms Spy on Each Other in Culture Wars Over Schooling":

There were no confrontations at the Moms for Liberty meeting held in a Mexican restaurant in Colorado Springs. There was some provocative talk about purported sexual content in library books—Schoening claimed a book about "how do two men pleasure each other" was available to first graders. (She did not name the book or say what school it was supposedly found in.) But the attendees spent more time on how to wield their power.

Associated Press: "‘They’re opposed to government. But now they are the government.’ One county’s hard-right shift":

Shortly after being sworn in last fall, the new majority of the Sumner County Commission in Tennessee acted to update one of its official documents. The new version said county operations would not only be orderly and efficient, but "most importantly reflective of the Judeo-Christian values inherent in the nation’s founding."...

They have been motivated by pandemic restrictions, false claims related to the 2020 presidential election, disagreements over race and gender education, or a desire to reign in what they see as unaccountable bureaucracies, with a goal of taking control of school and library boards, county commissions and city councils. ...

A Republican and mother of two, Aumiller said she became concerned about the rise of the Constitutional Republicans group during the pandemic and attempts to push their agenda in local schools.

"At one point, I was ignorant, totally oblivious with what is going on—whoever is in office, it’s all interchangeable. That’s because I believed there were safeguards," she said. "What I am seeing, they don’t care about laws. They don’t care about rules. I have never seen anything so fragile as our government."

But the media have finally found a group of parents whose school board candidacies they support.

Spoiler alert: They're progressives.

ABC News: "Progressives Launch Their Own Campaign To Flip School Board Seats Nationwide":

A progressive group plans to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into an effort to elect hundreds of left-leaning school board members across the country—underscoring how those local races are increasingly drawing the attention of noted advocacy groups and politicians. ...

Some high-profile Democrats are mounting their own campaign from the other side of the spectrum, as seen with Illinois' Gov. J.B. Pritzker's recent outlaw of book bans.

[The Progressive Change Campaign Committee's] fundraising launch on Friday comes just a week before conservative nonprofit group Moms for Liberty holds its annual meeting in Philadelphia, where several Republican 2024 hopefuls, and Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are slated to speak.

Hannah Riddle, director of PCCC's candidate services, told ABC News that she sees efforts from the right as "really serious and not theoretical threats."

PCCC will be focusing its efforts in battlegrounds like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, as well as Illinois and Virginia, where several school boards seats will see vacancies, Riddle said.

It's the latest in the media's efforts to frame local progressive efforts as democracy-in-action.

NPR: "Local Libraries Have Become a Major Political and Cultural Battleground":

The changes at the library since conservatives took over the governing board have infuriated liberal patrons.

"We're really upset that the library is being used in the culture wars," said Jean Menard, a home-school mom who says she depends on Lafayette libraries for her two teenagers' education. Menard started an anti-censorship Facebook group, Supporters of Lafayette Public Libraries. The group has more than 2,000 members.

"It is not the board of control's position to micromanage the library," she said. "Librarians need to be able to manage the library. This is a public library. It's for everyone. [If] they don't like the programs or materials, don't attend, don't check out the material!"

Associated Press: "Young Climate Activists Take Montana To Court For Its Role in Global Warming":

The plaintiffs and their attorneys were cheered by supporters as they arrived outside the courthouse on Monday. Inside, Seeley’s small courtroom was packed with observers and members of the media. Environmentalists have called the bench trial a turning point because similar suits in nearly every state have already been dismissed. A favorable decision could add to a handful of rulings globally that have declared governments have a duty to protect citizens from climate change.

Conservative efforts to do the same? Not so heroic.