Politico receives blowback after warning that Republicans are 'making school board races partisan'

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Politico received blowback on Wednesday after publishing an article warning that Republicans are making local school board races partisan. 

The article titled “Republicans eye new front in education wars: Making school board races partisan” accused Republicans of politicizing school board races into “partisan elections” to gain ground for the 2022 elections.


Protesters and activists hold signs as they stand outside a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021.

“Republicans across America are pressing local jurisdictions and state lawmakers to make typically sleepy school board races into politicized, partisan elections in an attempt to gain more statewide control and swing them to victory in the 2022 midterms,” Politico reported.

The article was critical of Republicans involved in education issues throughout the country. Politico reporters Andrew Atterbury and Juan Perez Jr. wrote how Republicans have transformed parents’ outrage towards critical race theory curriculum into “a boogeyman” in order to push new legislation.

“It also comes as other crucial battleground issues are bubbling up in education, including classroom lessons on history and race — a subject that has emerged as a boogeyman for GOP policymakers in numerous states who are condemning efforts to teach young people about the nation’s history of discrimination,” they wrote. 

Martin West, a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, warning that “[m]aking school board races partisan could make an already heated political landscape even more contentious.”

Parents and community members attend a Loudoun County School Board meeting, just 40 minutes from Fairfax.
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

Critics called out Politico’s “partisan” label of Republican activism.

RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway tweeted, “It’s Republicans who are politicizing schools, got it.”

“Everyone loves democracy until it doesn’t go their way,” Cato Institute scholar Corey DeAngelis responded to the article.

Heritage Foundation media director John Cooper wrote, “Politico acting like more accountability for school boards is a bad thing.”

Lori Gadreau asks a question at Loranger Memorial School, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
(Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Education became a significant political issue in 2021 as parents flooded school board meetings to protest specific teaching materials and other progressive policies. It was the number one issue surrounding the Virginia gubernatorial race after Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe stated that he didn’t believe parents should tell schools what to teach. He went on to lose the election to Republican Glenn Youngkin.

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