Republican efforts to ward off critical race theory in education have led to an increase in attempts to recall school board members nationally, Ballotpedia reported.
At least 51 local recall efforts targeting at least 130 elected members on K-12 school boards have been initiated in the first six months of this year. That's more than twice the annual average, according to Ballotpedia.
Between 2006-2020, there were a yearly average of 23 recall efforts against 52 school board members, according to Ballotpedia.
California leads in the 2021 recall effort, with 22 of the current situations occuring in the Golden State. Arizona (six) and Idaho (four) follow in the number of recall efforts, Axios reported.
This year's recall efforts have centered around mask requirements, and ridding schools of critical race theory. Previously, school board recalls tended to stem from disputes over mismanagement, open meeting violations, or allegations of corruption, according to Axios.
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
Progressives’ attempts to include critical race theory in K-12 schools have increased since George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020.
Former Trump Justice Department official Ian Prior is now executive director of nonprofit political action committee FightForSchools.com, which is sponsoring a recall of school board members in Loudoun County, Virginia. Axios reported the members belong to a private Facebook group focused on anti-racism.
Last week, the Loudoun school board cut short the public comment section of a school board meeting over transgender policy and critical race theory after a large crowd of unruly attendees refused to obey several orders to quiet down in a disruption leading to one arrest, The Washington Post reported.
Citizens for Renewing America, a group led by Trump administration budget director Russ Vought, offers a toolkit that "is an A-to-Z guide on how to combat Critical Race Theory and reclaim your local school board," according to the social welfare organizations’ website.
Pennsylvania parents formed their own PAC to support school board candidates running to keep kids in school in person, Axios reported.
A group called "Patriots for Delaware" endorsed five pro-school-reopening candidates for the state's elections in May, highlighting a local push to limit social justice discussions and defy mask mandates, Axios said.
Though many Republican-led states have launched concerted efforts to ban critical race theory from the classroom, the curriculum is being widely adopted in more liberal places such as Washington state, which will mandate the theory in the classroom for the 2022-2023 school year.
Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., last month introduced a resolution on condemning critical race theory as a "prejudicial ideological tool, rather than an educational tool."
Last week, America's largest teachers union said it was planning to spend around $56,500 to conduct opposition research of groups fighting what is ostensibly critical race theory teaching in schools.
In Wisconsin, four of the seven members of the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education have been targeted over the district's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and introducing critical race theory lessons, Axios said.
In Arizona, critical race theory has prompted a recall effort against two of the five members of the Litchfield Elementary School District Governing Board.
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