The Daily Agenda: Same schtick, different day

Tucson Agenda, Jul 31, 2023, Curt Prendergast & Caitlin Schmidt

The candidates who failed to win seats on the Catalina Foothills District’s governing board last year just formed a new PAC this month, intended for the 2024 election cycle. They are trying to find new ways to confuse and trick district residents into mistrusting CFSD by copying / pasting from national political strategists who are working to destroy public schools across the country. The stage is set for another year of nuttiness at the Catalina Foothills School District.

CFSD vs the Rabble Rousers: Cue the Torches and Pitchforks

Blog for Arizona, July 31, 2023, Kim M. Bayne

Extremist groups attacking the district have a new angle of disinformation – new fictions around enrollment. Using words like “save” and “concerned,” they are trying to erode trust for Catalina Foothills public schools in order to clear the way for school privatization. Read more of their disinformation and what the real facts are here.

Moms for Liberty named ‘extremist’ by civil rights watchdog

NPR, Odette Yousef, June 7, 2023

The Southern Poverty Law Center labelled a dozen so-called “parental rights” groups as anti-government extremist. These include Moms for Liberty and Purple for Parents (Indiana).

The SPLC report compares Moms for Liberty and similar organizations of today to pro-segregationist parent groups that flourished in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

“They really are seeking to undermine public education holistically and to divide communities.” One tactic they use is to show up to school board meetings with far-right groups (such as the Proud Boys) who explicitly advocate for and/or commit intimidation and violence.

CFSD pushes back after State Superintendent comments

KVOA, Jun 13, 2023, Chorus Nylander

Two local school districts were put on blast during a press conference last week held by State Superintendent Tom Horne.

CFSD responded, “It’s disheartening to see that a person who was elected to strengthen Arizona public schools is instead using his press conferences to tarnish them. We respect any student’s preference regarding how they are addressed in school, be it a nickname or a pronoun request. However, as students are informed, if a parent were to inquire, our staff do not keep this information from parents. Further, we encourage students to discuss these matters with their parents.”

Inside Florida’s ‘underground lab’ for far-right education policies

Hechinger Report, May 31, 2023, Kathryn Joyce

In Sarasota County, as school board members battle over book bans, character education, attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals and “woke audits,” students say that “Sarasota is Florida’s underground lab, and we’re its non-consenting lab rats…Any legislation that might be proposed on a statewide or national level is proposed here first.”

“We all understand that we’re facing the destruction of public education.” – Sarasota County school board member

Understanding Christian Nationalism

Christians Against Christian Nationalism

Christian nationalists are currently targeting public schools, undermining both freedom of religion and democracy. They want to transform public schools into conservative Christian strongholds and rarely are transparent about their intentions. Instead, they rely on book bans, school board takeovers and prohibitions of teaching about racial and LGBTQ issues to accomplish their goals. Read more here.

Optometrist FL mom joins with PEN America, Penguin Random House in lawsuit against book bans

New York Times, May 19, 2023, Michelle Goldberg

Lindsay Durtschi, a member of the P.T.A. and an optometrist who grew up in an evangelical household and attended a Christian college, joined a groundbreaking lawsuit with another parent, PEN America, Penguin Random House and a group of authors. They are plaintiffs against a Florida school and school board for their sweeping school library censorship. Much of the library censorship originated from one person, a high school English teacher who is a member of the neo-Confederate group Daughters of the Confederacy.