WASHINGTON — Responding to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, National Education Association President Becky Pringle released the following statement:
“As Americans, we want the same thing — for every student to have the freedom to reach their potential. And for the more than 50 million students across the country that means strong public schools. In every community across the nation, parents and educators continue to be partners, working to ensure all students, no matter their race or background, have the opportunity to succeed. Sadly, Speaker Kevin McCarthy is ignoring the needs of our students, as well as the wishes of the vast majority of parents, to appease right-wing billionaires like Betsy DeVos who want to drag their political games into our school buildings and onto our campuses. McCarthy would rather seek to stoke racial and social division and distract us from what will really help our students thrive: an inspiring, inclusive, and age-appropriate curriculum that prepares each and every one of them for their future.
“Parents and voters agree that elected leaders should be focused on getting students the individualized support they need, keeping guns out of schools, and addressing educator shortages. But sadly, McCarthy would rather empower politicians who want to ban books and drive passionate educators out of the profession, instead of doing what is right for our students and public schools. Students, parents, and educators deserve better.”
In the 2022 general elections, voters rejected the agenda McCarthy announced today, as pro-public education candidates won in nearly every competitive gubernatorial race, 71% of the school board races NEA was tracking this cycle, major legislative seats and chambers, as well as other key federal, state, and local offices. As GBAO Strategies found, “A new post-election national survey of voters — including parents of school-aged children and nonparents — confirms that right-wing ‘culture war’ attacks on public education and educators fell flat in the midterms. Despite spending tens of millions of dollars on ads focused on topics like Critical Race Theory (CRT), ‘grooming,’ and anti-LGBTQ ‘indoctrination,’ these issues were neither top turnout motivators nor top factors in one’s vote outside the Republican base; and Democrats rejected these topics completely.”
In the aftermath of the 2022 general election, even right-wing groups admitted that their candidates fell short. Weeks before the election, the RNC saw warning signs that this was a failed strategy, telling their candidates that these issues only excite a fraction of their base and that other messages would be more effective at building winning coalitions. After seeing the results, the founder of the 1776 Project PAC told the Associated Press, “The messaging needs to be more positive…Sometimes you lose moderate voters because you’re too hyperbolic and you’re not speaking truth to something very local to them.”
And the Washington Post reported, “[T]hese attacks did not carry their proponents to victory, and the results called into question whether Republicans took the right lessons from recent history, said Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank. ‘People looked at Youngkin’s victory and thought this would be a new way to win in purple states,’ Petrilli said. ‘What happened this year seems to raise some real questions about this strategy.’”
# # #
Follow us on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle
# # #
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.