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Conservatives Win Florida School Board Races

Conservatives win Florida school board races with support from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

By Eileen Griffin

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) easily won reelection in the state of Florida, and all six school board candidates he endorsed won their runoffs on Tuesday, based on unofficial results.

Out of 30 local school board candidates DeSantis supported this year, 24 have won board seats, including the six candidates in runoffs, Politico reports. The wins ensure conservatives will have influence in government-run schools in the state of Florida.

School board races in Florida are nonpartisan, but this year both political parties openly supported candidates.

Closely Watched Races

Conservatives took a more active role than usual partly due to opposition to the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Politico reports. The anti-CRT organization, 1776 PAC (Political Action Committee) endorsed 49 candidates. The conservative group Moms for Liberty weighed in to support parental rights and school choice.

Conservatives have led the efforts against CRT, pornographic sexual instruction, and other radical ideologies and curricula. Active engagement of parents, conservative groups, and DeSantis resulted in a dramatic shift in school board races in Florida.

Some of the most closely watched races were in Broward County, where DeSantis had suspended four school board members after a grand-jury report revealed they increased a school bond by more than $800 million, the Miami Herald reports.

In June, DeSantis announced his education agenda, and asked school board candidates to sign a pledge to support his program, Fox 13 reported. Candidates and voters were invited to complete a survey to assess their alignment with the governor’s education priorities. The survey asked if CRT belonged in K-12 schools, and whether or not the respondent supports parental rights. The survey asked if it was appropriate to lock students out of schools or require masks while in the classroom.

DeSantis Endorsed Candidates

Candidates aligned with the DeSantis education agenda were frequently provided with his sought-after endorsement.

DeSantis endorsed Indian River County District 2 School Board candidate Jackie Rosario, who won on a platform of “education, not indoctrination.” She supports parental rights, school choice, and curriculum transparency, states her website.

In Sarasota, a candidate DeSantis supported for re-election, Bridget Ziegler, easily retained her school board seat this year, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported. With her seat secure, she joined the conservative Leadership Institute, vowing to assist other conservatives interested in running for public office.

“I will keep fighting for what I believe is right, as that is what I was elected to do,” Ziegler said in a tweet. “I will continue to push for transparency, accountability, and parental rights, and will not back down to anyone’s intimidation tactics.”

DeSantis’ Education Agenda

DeSantis has made a commitment to improving education in Florida. His school board dedicated website states his agenda puts parents first in their children’s education.

“The DeSantis Education Agenda is a student-first, parent-centered initiative focused on setting Florida’s children up for success, ensuring parental rights in education, and combatting the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools,” states the website. “This statewide agenda is for school board candidates and school board members who are committed to advancing these priorities at the local school board level.”

The DeSantis education agenda resonated with voters on Tuesday and conservatives continue to increase their numbers on Florida school boards.

For more School Reform News.

Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin writes from Richland, Washington.

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