FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the Parental Rights in Education bill at Classical Preparatory school, on March 28, 2022, in Shady Hills, Fla. The Walt Disney Company announced late Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, that former CEO Bob Iger will return to head the company for two years in a move that stunned the entertainment industry. Disney said in a statement that Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger in 2020, had stepped down from the position. Chapek faced blowback early this year for not using Disney's vast influence in Florida to quash the Republican bill that would prevent teachers from instructing early grades on LGBTQ issues. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

It’s easy to sense a perilous political reckoning sinking over America, but the most treacherous struggles are headed for school boardrooms, not state capitols.

Republicans believe they’ve discovered the populist Holy Grail in using schools, teachers and public education as a political punching bag.

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has branded himself the anti-public-schools czar of his state, blaming schools and teachers for a host of public ills.

The presidential contender is part of a growing trend among far-right conservatives trying to create a false narrative of secretive, insular public schools where teachers huddle in regular cabals over how to brainwash children into believing political “nonsense,” such as understanding the risks of climate change.

Increasingly, what were once far-right fringe groups promoting conspiracy theories have become mainstream conservative political agendas.

Colorado is among states being subjected to this right-wing hokum and fakery.

During the 2022 gubernatorial election, GOP nominee and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl insisted that public schools were saddled with veritable herds of children who demanded to “present” as “furries.”

Ganahl’s claims and other complaints were widely debunked by the media and the schools themselves. The fury over flurries was a hardly coy attempt to swipe at transgender children and the challenges schools face in teaching them.

Also last year, a Republican on the State Board of Education attempted to insert a far-right political philosophy in state history curricula. As first reported by Chalkbeat, Republican Steve Durham, wanted “students to learn the false idea that the Nazis were socialists and that left-wing regimes are uniquely prone to commit genocide.”

Last week in Congress, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill promised to 2022 voters that seeks to “give parents a role in what’s taught in public schools,” according to an Associated Press report.

The farcical legislation panders to the growing far-right ruckus over schools,  which has led to a flood of banned-book attempts, attacks on transgender students and bombastic attacks at school board meetings across the country.

The so-called Parents Bill of Rights Act cynically promises to wield the federal government in an attempt to deliver what parents in Aurora and across the state and nation already have: local control of schools.

The measure seeks to make public course studies and library materials, to allow parents to meet with educators at least twice a school year, speak at school board meetings and see school budgets.

Schools plead with and sometimes even have to bribe parents to come to back-to-school nights, parent-teacher meetings and other community functions.

Parents in school districts such as Aurora Public Schools can call ahead and even have translators available to them at school board meetings, to speak or just to observe.

Not only are school district budgets available online in school districts across the state, finite details about the plight of teacher pay and school spending are absolutely transparent — with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The “Parent Bill of Rights Act” is a ruse. What these far-right Republicans want, as outlined by Colorado’s own GOP extremist Congressperson Lauren Boebert, is to forbid schools to address concerns by transgender children and their parents, to end sex-education in schools, to end the ability of the federal government to ensure disabled children and girls receive equal treatment in all public schools, and to ensure extremists like state school board members Steve Durham are successful in forcing schools to teach partisan propaganda and not academics in history classes.

Public schools are under extreme pressure to help millions of children recover from lost-learning caused by the pandemic. And in thousands of places like Aurora, the community will almost certainly be targeting schools as the nexus for student mental health care and systems to reduce juvenile gun violence.

Residents should push back to local members of congress and the state legislature who seek to perpetuate this false far-right narrative endangering public schools and education.

Control of schools are local, and they need to stay that way.

Join the Conversation


  1. The GOP continues their steady fascist march as they seek to rewrite history and substitute reality with conspiracy and lies. School boards and city councils are the next battlefield in Colorado. Remain vigilant.

    1. The long term strategy of Newt Gingrich has paid off in its apotheosis: Donald Trump, and will continue for years. Start local, at school board level, then move to city council, then Mayor or Representative, then Governor, then member of Congress. All the while fueled by hate and grievance.

      Stop this by voting. That is the only way.

    2. Encouraging people to deny biological reality so you can recruit more marxist foot soldiers is the definition of conspiracy and lies.

  2. Ignoring reality is not a plan for success, but it’s the only one Republicans have. We cannot allow such plans to become programs.

    Passing legislation, as Kansas recently has, to target the “threat” of one single trans athlete, is hateful and a waste of government resources. Refusing to agree to even common sense gun regulation while the country is undergoing an epidemic of mass shootings is simply suicide on the instalment plan.

    And seriously considering renominating a serial liar and fool for the presidency betrays a total lack of patriotism and, frankly, seriousness about governance, that characterizes the party. Reality is irrelevant to the modern GOP. Compare the post-COVID-vaccine death rates of Republican jurisdictions with the death rates in Democratic jurisdictions and one can readily see the cost of science denialism and tribalism. Republicans tolerate even dying to “own the libs”.

    This is not a serious political party, and hasn’t been since the orange goon first descended on that escalator and slandered an entire country and its people. If your party is proud of ignorance and hate, there are really only a few directions you can take, and all of them are very bad.

    We have survived wars and epidemics before. But we cannot survive the hellscape of the Republican Party. When Republican members of Congress celebrate Christmas by sending out cards with pictures of the whole family armed to the teeth with assault rifles, they only show how horrible they are, and how deadly they are becoming.

    1. Your ally tried to assassinate Republic Congressmen, and the ones before him bombed the US Capital twice. You’re in no position to be warning anyone about how horrible people are unless you’re looking in a mirror.

      If we’re armed to the teeth, it’s to defend ourselves from you and your allies. Because you and your side LOVE political violence when it suits your purpose.

      1. I’m sorry? Who was it who stormed the Capitol after erecting a noose outside it? Who was chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”?

        Whose side are all the illegal militias on? Whose side refuses to do a damned thing about the escalating gun killings?

        As the saying goes, when you point your finger, there are three more fingers pointing back at you.

        1. I’m sorry? Who was it who bombed the Capitol twice, along with numerous government buildings, and makes storming those buildings a part of their political activism?

          Whose side was Weather Underground on? Whose side refuses to quit turning society into an overscaled, drug-addled toilet bowl?

          As the saying goes, when you point your finger, there are three more fingers pointing back at you.

  3. If I were a national candidate or campaign manager, I would want to know if any position, statement or agenda that I was promoting would attract voters to me or my candidate. I doubt that many recent GOP efforts would meet this criteria. The old fashioned emphasis on lower taxes and national defense might still work, even in districts that are slowly moving in a blue direction. Frankly, as a Republican for many decades, (I am 70) I find some of the issues promoted by Republican lawmakers to be not only absurd, but an embarrassing waste of time.

  4. Here is the answer: VOTE Them to HELL out!! DEFUND them through their corporate sponsors. Trust me, they will get the message.

    The “Orange Headed One”, just found out what it is like to be be held accountable for decades of cheating, lying, and screwing people. Believe me his snowflake ego is having a very hard time handling it, no matter what bullshit he says. And those that still support him, well call them “too stupid to know they are stupid”.

  5. Dave is writing about Florida politics but no comment on the trans terrorist caught planning a shooting in the Springs? Odd.

      1. Not after his mom narc’ed on him. Your ally that shot up the Christian school in Nashville was, though.

  6. I was on the PTO and volunteered in classrooms for years, teachers had absolutely no problem with sharing class materials. Unfortunately, parents just wouldn’t show up for meetings, volunteer activities or even parent-teacher conferences. The GOP attempt to demonize hard-working, underpaid teachers is despicable. Teachers are heroes. Parents don’t need a bill of rights, just show up and partner with your child’s school.

  7. Okay, here’s the list of all who have commented here:

    Liberals: Jeff Ryan, GeneD, John Beasly, Hankman, Old Dave
    Conservatives: Factory Working Orphan, skankhunt42
    Moderates/Undecided: Jamie, Me

    To add another moderate here and consider both sides, I will do give each side a point. On the topic of shootings, yes, Conservatives should probably ban assault weapons, but we can’t forget the Liberals who were chanting to defund the police who could help at least regulate and discourage violence using said weapons. For trans, a touchy subject, but I personally think that for the Liberals who want them accepted, continuing to talk about accepting them does as much good as bringing a Special Ed kid into a classroom, and repeatedly saying “He is a normal kid, you may not like him, but accept him”,which is good the first time, but then gets aggravating the next 10 times. I personally think that if we just simply say “Accept them” and then abandon the issue, a lot more people will see them as just an average kid, which is how they should be treated. However, I would say that we should still remember male and female, and not let a pervert into the girls bathroom because they said that they were a girl. We should still differentiate for that, not because I want to deny trans kids a voice, but because I don’t think we should have to worry about perverts faking a different gender.

    I hope that both sides can agree with this here, in that it does no good to hit punch punch, but instead to have a handshake while discussing the issue peacefully, not in riots disguised as protests, or frequent radical speech.

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