After months of widespread grassroots protests and intensified media coverage, the battle over school boards partially culminated in the results of Tuesday’s nationwide elections, which saw hundreds of outsider candidates run for school board positions, according to CNN.
One example was in the state of Pennsylvania, where the newly-formed statewide PAC Back to School Pa, spent over $600,000 to back 208 candidates for school board seats in 54 localities across the state. The PAC, founded by Bucks County father Paul Martino, said that 101 of its candidates had claimed victory in their races.
Back to School Pa, which campaigned primarily on a platform of finally reopening schools and putting an end to remote and virtual learning measures, was first launched after a donation of $10,000 from Martino, a venture capitalist, and initially endorsed 94 candidates. After its launch, over 200 local groups from across the state applied for funds from the PAC, with many of them receiving funding of $10,000 each.
“We didn’t support regions and parents based on the winnability of their districts,” said Back to School Pa’s Executive Director Clarice Schillinger. “We supported those who aligned with us on a single issue of keeping our schools open, regardless of party.”
Other efforts were not so successful, with a Philadelphia-based group called Reimagine Radnor failing to win any of the four seats where its candidates ran after receiving financial backing from Back to School Pa. Separate recall efforts across the country also failed, including one in the Mequon-Thiensville School District in Wisconsin, and another in Nemaha, Kansas.
But the battle over schools, and particularly hot-button cultural issues such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and pro-“transgender” policies, proved highly successful for Republicans in the state of Virginia. In the state that Joe Biden won over President Donald Trump by 10 points just last year, Republicans flipped all three statewide offices, reclaiming the positions of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. The Virginia GOP also flipped control of the House of Delegates, which previously had a 5-seat Democratic majority, and currently holds a 2-seat majority according to current election results.
The results in Virginia, widely characterized as a “red wave,” do not bode well for Biden and the national Democratic Party, who are facing long odds of maintaining their congressional majorities in the 2022 midterms. Democrats currently maintain a 50-50 tie in the United States Senate, broken only by the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, and hold just a 3-seat majority in the United States House of Representatives.