In a recent wave of school board elections across the United States, candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty, the book-burning ‘parental rights’ group, faced significant setbacks.
The election outcomes signal a rejection of book bans and culture wars in the realm of education, as voters opted for candidates promoting freedom of expression and respect for the rights of all students.
Districts for Democracy, an organization founded to combat book-banning and culture war initiatives, celebrated success in supporting over 300 school board candidates in some of the most contested races in New Jersey, with two-thirds emerging victorious.
Former Congressman Tom Malinowski, the group’s founder, expressed his satisfaction, stating, “We demonstrated that when voters know where candidates stand on these issues, they will choose the ones who support freedom of expression and respect for the rights of all students.”
The victories extended beyond New Jersey, with the Linn-Mar School District in Marion, Iowa, gaining national attention for its proposal to support students’ gender identities, reflecting a broader pushback against conservative organizations.
Malinowski highlighted key wins, including Bernards Township, where anti-book-banning candidates secured all three contested seats, reclaiming control of the Board.
“In Westwood, a board majority that had opposed the state’s sex ed standards and pushed a policy that led to the removal of pride flags lost to candidates who promised a return to normality and equitable treatment for all,” said Malinowski.
However, he acknowledged that the fight is far from over, as some MAGA extremists still won races, emphasizing the importance of defending public schools.
In the heart of the state, the message was clear – voters rejected the politics of fear and division. The Campaign for Our Shared Future, a progressive group, reported that 19 of its 23 endorsed school board candidates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia had won. The American Federation of Teachers noted that 80 percent of its preferred candidates triumphed in 250 tracked races.
While the overall results indicated a challenging election for Moms for Liberty, there were scattered victories in several New Jersey counties.
Tiffany Justice, a co-founder of the neofascist Christian nationalist group, remains undeterred, asserting that progressive ideology on gender and race in education is “destroying the lives of children and families.”
In the suburbs of Philadelphia, where many New Jersey residents keep a close eye on education developments, Democrats secured new school board majorities in closely watched districts.
Phillip Fisher Jr – a pastor and local Republican ward leader who volunteered at Moms for Liberty’s national summit in Philadelphia this year – pleaded guilty in 2012 to a charge of aggravated sexual abuse involving a 14-year-old boy when he was 25 and living in Chicago.
The wins in the Pennridge and Central Bucks School Districts, where debates over book restrictions and pride flags had roiled the community, echoed the statewide sentiment for a return to normalcy and a focus on core educational issues.
As New Jersey residents navigate the ever-evolving landscape of education politics, the impact of these elections is expected to shape ongoing discussions about the role of public schools in the state and contribute to the broader conversation about the future of American democracy.
The rejection of divisive culture war candidates in favor of contenders prioritizing local concerns is a hopeful sign for the direction of education policy in the Garden State.