Education issues–including school closures due to mask mandates and unions not wanting to send teachers back to the classroom–are front and center meaning some of the most-watched races in next year’s elections could center around local school boards.
Some election analysts predict school board races across the state will be some of the most closely watched contests across Florida.
“I think it’s the perfect storm on everything that has occurred from COVID, from the beginning of school closures to districts mandating mask policies on students,” said media strategist Jamie Miller.
On of the biggest issues over in Florida in recent months has been Gov. Ron DeSantis’ battle with local school districts over mask mandates, which has led to lawsuits.
Parents opposing mandates have been very vocal at local school board meetings across Florida and around the nation.
While many districts put mask mandates in place, other districts chose not to, instead of following recommendations from the DeSantis administration and the governor’s executive order allowing parents to decide if their children should have masks.
Another issue that has parents angry is the lost days their children had to make up because of school closures. Parents have also expressed concern over forcing children to be quarantined if they have been in contact with somebody who had COVID. In September, DeSantis issued a new rule allowing parents to decide whether their child should be taken out of school after being in contact with somebody who tested positive for COVID.
The media jumped all over this issue, interviewing doctors who opposed the governor’s move and reporting that many parents would not support it. But a recent article from Florida Today found that several principals in Brevard County schools reported that most parents are not putting their children who have been exposed to COVID, largely due to wanting their children to stop missing school.
While it hasn’t received the attention in schools that COVID has, the issue of transgender students playing in sports remains a concern among many parents.
This year, Republicans in the Florida Legislature passed a bill that bans male students who have transitioned into becoming female from playing in girls’ sports.
Lee County Property Appraiser Matt Caldwell, who is also a Fox News radio commentator, said when this topic came up in front of the Lee County School Board, the room was packed, with most Parents opposing allowing transgenders to play in female sports
“The school district kept this issue under wraps but when parents heard what was about to happen, parents showed up to the meeting very angry,” said Caldwell. “Because of silence on this issue, I think it will cost school board members their seats.”
In a recent editorial, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen wrote that Democrats are ignoring the new wave of concerned voters, dubbing them“school board moms.”
Thiessen noted in the Bill Clinton era, there were soccer moms, during the George W. Bush years there were the security moms–and now there are the school board moms.
Theissen stressed that suburban women who voted for Democrats in 2018 and 2020 may vote for the GOP in 2022 because they think Democrats are ignoring parents–primarily mothers–who are concerned about their kids’ education.
“What is happening in school board meetings across the country is a harbinger of electoral defeat for the Democratic Party. School board moms are mad as hell,” insisted Thiessen.