H.R. 5 ignores the vast majority of parents, students, and educators, who stand against politicizing classrooms, censoring history, and banning books
WASHINGTON — As U.S House Speaker Kevin McCarthy continues to ignore the priorities of the vast majority of parents and rush through H.R. 5— legislation that is part of a nationwide right-wing movement to prevent students from learning about topics such as slavery and the Trail of Tears, and ban books about historical figures including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk, Anne Frank, and Cesar Chavez— National Education Association President Becky Pringle released the following statement:
“In every community across the nation, parents and educators continue to be partners, working together to ensure every student, no matter their race or background, has the opportunity to succeed. This collaboration between educators and caregivers is critical to our students’ success.
“With all that our students need, it’s outrageous that Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his allies in Congress are ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of parents to solve the pressing challenges in our public schools, and instead appeasing right-wing billionaires like Betsy DeVos who want to drag their political games into our classrooms and onto our campuses.
“McCarthy and his allies would rather empower extreme politicians who want to ban books and drive passionate educators out of the profession, instead of empowering educators and parents to do what is right for our students and public schools.
“Students, parents, and educators deserve better. America deserves better than extreme politicians playing political games with the critical partnership between parents and educators.”
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.”
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.
In the aftermath of the 2022 general election, even right-wing groups admitted that their candidates fell short. 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.’”
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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.