Republicans Bounce on Schools as a Wage Issue to Unify the Party
Katie Paris, the party worker who runs Red, Wine and Blue A group that works to organize suburban women said that even though it had warned that attacks on critical race theory were “spreading like wildfire,” her pleas for resources were supported by party donors and was largely unanswered by the authorities.
“These outside forces have come to our schools and our communities, and at the highest levels within the Democratic Party, people have just said, ‘Okay, don’t talk about it,'” she said. “The reluctance to get involved was a big mistake, and it will be in 2022.”
Rashad Robinson, president of the racial justice organization Color of Change, expressed similar concerns, saying that Democrats’ reluctance to defend the need to honestly teach about race in public schools had left the party at a disadvantage.
Democrats, he said, “don’t show up when the conversation gets tough.”
“Critical race theory is not being taught, but we really need to tell people what is being taught and why it is a strategy to prevent our children from learning about our entire history,” said Mr. Robinson. Said, who has advised Democratic strategists and candidates about his message on the issue. “It’s about banning black history, but it’s also about banning American history.”
The issue, some party strategists acknowledged, is particularly complicated for Democrats who rely on teacher unions for financial and volunteer support. National and state union leaders have drawn public outcry for slowing the reopening of schools even after teachers were given early access to vaccines. In the final days of the Virginia campaign, McAuliffe appeared with Randy Weingarten, the influential president of the American Federation of Teachers, which drew rebuke from Republicans.
After the election, Ms Weingarten blamed McAuliffe’s defeat over her remarks that she did not believe “parents should tell schools what they should teach.” But he also rebuked Democrats for their timeliness, warning that rebuilding trust between parents and their schools requires tough negotiations.
There are indications of the limits of the Republican approach. Although the party poured money and advertising into school board races – usually sluggish in local affairs – early results were mixed, with the defeats of conservative candidates in Wisconsin, Connecticut and Minnesota.
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