Local Education Reform is Pandering

by Matt Kauffman ‘23

A recent grassroots movement in conservative circles involves the role parents should have in shaping the education of their children. Politicians like Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin have capitalized on raising hot-button issues like critical race theory and censorship of books in order to galvanize supporters, mainly among suburban conservatives. Outside of the spotlight on Capitol Hill, conservatives have emphasized the importance of local elections, especially school boards, and many organizations and companies like Patriot Mobile- a cellular company dedicated to promoting conservative values and candidates- have funded campaigns for politicians trying to reform education.

Parental input in school curricula is impossible without being tainted by a political agenda. Movements against the teaching of critical race theory (which most voters have a limited understanding of) are motivated by political pandering and fear of progressive ideas being taught. Politicians like Youngkin campaigned heavily on the promise of getting parental input back in schools, an issue that became relevant to many during the Covid-19 pandemic. Public opinion regarding masks, vaccination requirements, critical race theory, and other issues is subject to quick change and misinformation. Parents are misled by politicians using fear and strategic rhetoric in order to gain support for their campaigns, and outside of the voting process, parental input inevitably adds politics into the lives of students.