Editorial: MAGA lays siege to schools, gets blitzed

File Photo By Chase Hunter/Cronkite News

Column By John Young

If 4.9 percent economic growth isn’t good enough news for you (China would kill for that).

If inflation’s downturn doesn’t boost your spirits (3.2 percent – enough now to end the Fed’s tight-money push).

If various economic indicators (notice gasoline prices lately?) don’t temper your worries as the forces of right-wing zeal ready their battering rams for 2024, let me remind you.

MAGA just keeps losing.

Unless you want your country run by the strong man of your dreams, off-year elections in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia bubbled over with take-heart results – keyed by a reproductive-rights wave that left bison-horned culture warriors soggy.

Glen Youngkin is coming? Why, yes. I hear the slosh of his cowboy boots.

The Virginia governor, recall, was deemed a Republican wunderkind for fear-bombing pale-faced parents about “critical race theory.” Talk about cheap thrills.

Youngkin embodies my conviction that the worst thing that ever happened to education was that people who don’t even buy into the concept of public schools decided to mess with them. (See: “No Child Left Behind.”)

Well, two really good things happened on that front this month.

First, in school board elections across the country, forces of MAGA and their culture-wars commandos, Moms for Liberty, got turned back.

Second, in Texas, where ideologues like Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick think they can get away with anything, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defeated school vouchers that Abbott demands.

Heck, the vote wasn’t even close.

The governor had ordered a special session to serve him this dainty delight on a silver platter. The authors of the bill attempted the blackmail of tying school funding and teacher raises to the cynical and insidious policy of siphoning money to private and religious schools.

Now Abbott appears to be in full hold-my-breath mode, threatening to primary GOP lawmakers who voted in the interests of their local public schools rather than the designs of Trumpian apparatchiks.

Did I say cynical? School vouchers are hyped as a boon to the poor, to children “trapped in failing government schools.” That claim takes “bogus” to its outer limits.

No school voucher is going to suffice for a high-priced, selective school, a presumed oasis in the unreachable distance. For most poor families, this is pure fantasy.

Coolly received privately funded vouchers in San Antonio saw most families stick with their neighborhood schools.

Enough with vouchers – until the next GOP schemer comes to town with this medicine potion.

Let’s talk now about Moms for Liberty and the Election Day battering they took on Nov. 7.

Sure, the right-wing meddle brigade managed to take over a handful of mostly rural school boards, as has happened at scattered districts since the pandemic made “no masks” a war cry for the truly Trumpified.

The reassuring news is that across the country, right-wing slates were routed at the hands of education groups and parents who support public schools, heart and soul.

That was the case in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Iowa, reports Huffington Post. People who love public schools for what they are won the day.

Let’s face it. The energy source for Moms for Liberty is religious-right devotees who, like the voucher movement, think of public schools as the mark of the devil and teachers as Satan’s instruments.

These people have no idea what “critical race theory” is except what they heard on Fox News between Ozempic commercials.

They believe children are being “indoctrinated” because schools won’t teach them to hate people that the MAGA crowd doesn’t understand.

For these enemies of public education, “equity” is the ultimate sin. For them, “diversity” is what God-fearing Americans flee.

As for those of us with sweat equity in public schools, we are going nowhere. We are fighting for them, for our children, and for children to come.

Nothing like a school-issues route to calm one’s jitters with a general election coming up.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.