A conservative political action committee (PAC) registered significant wins in the midterm elections with six victories out of eleven contested school board positions in Michigan.
The Ottawa Impact Educational PAC supported candidates who were more conservative than Democrats or incumbent Republicans, Michigan Live reports. The group endorsed eleven candidates for school board positions. The few conservatives that did not win lost to long-serving incumbents.
The candidates endorsed by Ottawa Impact oppose the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) and social emotional learning (SEL). The PAC supported candidates committed to protecting parental rights and constitutional freedoms.
“Parents know best how to raise and care for their children, are given the ‘natural’ right to these responsibilities by God, protected by the 1st and 14th Amendments,” the PAC’s website states. “Civic engagement, ground up, is critical to preserve a healthy, moral society. We are excited to see more engaged parents and citizens than ever before!”
Conservatives Liz Ramey and Corey Mango, both endorsed by Ottawa Impact PAC, won school board races in Allendale, Michigan Live reports. Their positions include support for educational excellence, parental rights, child innocence, and teaching concepts of American exceptionalism.
“No CRT, CSE, or woke indoctrination,” the candidates’ campaign websites state. “A boy is a boy. A girl is a girl. Children are not racist or sexual.”
Grandville, near Grand Rapids, elected two conservatives endorsed by Ottawa Impact PAC, Michigan Live reports. Joe Steffes previously served in law enforcement in the area, and Bob Wondergem is a long-term school board member who touts traditional education and transparency.
Wondergem’s campaign website states his opposition to CRT and his desire to listen to to parents regarding their children’s education.
Wondergem supports “[r]emoval of CRT, pronouns and other woke social elements that have crept into our schools over the course of the past few years since the start of Covid,” Wondergem’s website states. “This has brought the ire of parents as they experience the loss of the harmony within all of our schools from elementary schools to middle school and high school.”
Conservatives Donna Mooney and Jennifer Thomas Griffin beat three other candidates for seats on the Jenison school board. Both candidates shared the same platform as Wondergem and Steffes.
Mooney’s campaign website states her strong commitment to parental rights and limitations on government power.
“The education system too often gives priority to the interests and agendas of powerful teacher unions and special interest groups, to the detriment of teaching children the educational skills necessary to succeed in life,” Mooney’s website states. “This is evidenced by dismal literacy scores.”
Students in the state of Michigan have been falling behind in academic achievement, The Center Square reports. Data indicates only 28 percent of students in fourth grade and eighth grade in the state are proficient in reading.
Proficiency losses are largely attributed to the school closures mandated during the pandemic. Michigan was one of the most restrictive states in the nation.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mandated school closures on March 16, 2020 and continued the restrictions to the end of the school year. During the 2020-2021 school year, Whitmer commanded multiple disruptions including intermittent closures, remote learning, and cancellation of extracurricular activities. Some Michigan schools continued remote learning into the 2021-2022 school year.
Larry Sand, president of the California Teacher’s Empowerment Network, wrote that education should have a large impact in the midterm elections in an October blog.
“While there is no shortage of issues to consider when marking ballots on Election Day, education matters should be high on the list,” Sand wrote. “All citizens, taxpayers, and parents, of course, have a stake in righting our wayward educational ship.”
With other school board elections arriving after the mid-term schedule, education issues are poised to remain at the forefront as parents and taxpayers become increasingly aware of and involved in the process of deciding what and how their children are taught.
More on school boards and school board races across the country.
More great content from School Reform News.
More from The Heartland Institute.