Election night did not deliver the overwhelming victory Republicans had hoped for on a national level, but on a local level — in school board races — conservatives picked up a wave of wins across the country.
This week, conservatives flipped at least nine school boards in at least six states — Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Florida — giving them conservative majorities, according to two parental rights groups who endorsed many of the victorious candidates.
The wins signal that parental rights were a significant factor at the ballot box on Tuesday.
In Michigan, four school board candidates in Brandywine who were endorsed by a parents rights group called 1776 Project PAC won their races, flipping the board from liberal to conservative, the group said.
In Maryland, three of their school board candidates won in Carroll County, flipping the school board there to a conservative majority, the group said.
The 1776 Project PAC claims it has officially flipped 100 school boards since November last year. The group’s candidates also won in Oklahoma and Ohio.
Another parents’ rights group, Moms For Liberty, told The Daily Wire it notched clusters of wins in at least four states. The group flipped at least seven school boards.
In North Carolina, conservative candidates won in both New Hanover County and Iredell County, flipping both of those school boards conservative, the group said.
In South Carolina, six conservative candidates won in Berkeley County, five won in Charleston County, and another four won in York County, flipping all three school boards conservative, Moms For Liberty said.
In New Jersey, three candidates in Cape May County won their elections, flipping that school board conservative, the group said.
In Florida, two candidates won in Pinellas County, flipping that board conservative as well, the group said.
Also in Florida, all six of the school board candidates Florida Governor Ron DeSantis endorsed won their runoff races. This means that of the 30 local education candidates DeSantis backed this year, a total of 24 have now won their races.
Over the summer, conservative school board candidates, including some endorsed by DeSantis, won their races and flipped school boards to conservative majorities in five counties, including some traditionally blue areas like Miami-Dade and Sarasota.
In recent months, Florida has been the epicenter of the education culture war in some respects. Back in March, DeSantis signed a parental rights bill that prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade.
The Republican school board wins this week and earlier this year point to parents becoming an activated voter bloc. The victories may also point to a larger trend of conservatives gaining the upper hand nationally in the education debate.
One of the first signs of parents taking their frustrations to the ballot box came last fall when Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin flipped the state’s governorship. Youngkin won his gubernatorial race after emphasizing parental rights during his campaign. At the time, there was some question as to whether that enthusiasm from parents would fizzle out.
It remains to be seen whether this level of energy from parents will continue through to the 2024 elections.
Aside from the wave of local school board wins, conservatives also won majorities on both the Texas and Kansas state education boards. The Texas State Board of Education will have a 10-5 Republican majority. All of those seats were up for election this cycle. The Kansas State Board of Education will now have a 7-3 conservative majority after conservatives won four seats.
Over the last two years, parents have complained about a litany of issues plaguing the public school system, including pandemic learning loss, pornographic and Critical Race Theory content in classroom materials, sexual orientation and gender identity being taught to very young students, and school safety.