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Let’s Ally to Elect Quality School Board Members in 2024!

4 Public Education "Allies & Partners, Working Together for Public Schools" in red and blue on a white background

Historically, school board elections have received little attention from voters, but recently extremists have begun trying to take over public school boards. Now we realize the importance of electing quality school board members who prioritize the students and support public schools rather than furthering extreme agendas. Because extreme right-wing groups continue to foment culture wars and support extremist candidates, we must have a concrete plan to combat disinformation and help elect good candidates. 

Until recently, most of Virginia’s public school boards had a principled and relatively nonpartisan approach to overseeing public schools, irrespective of who was in control of the Commonwealth’s government. Virginia’s public education system operated to advance a common purpose that made decisions based on what was best for all the children. They made decisions irrespective of politics in order to support success in education and had a goal of fostering community environments where all voices in the community were heard, respected and represented by local school board members. 

The role of School Boards includes the development of the school district’s budget, setting school policies, and hiring and evaluating the superintendent–all while complying with Commonwealth of Virginia laws and regulations. School boards are also heavily involved in academic, legal, financial and personnel issues and policies for that school district, and represent the residents and educators in their community. 

Sadly, heightened political polarization across the nation has unleashed culture wars at school board meetings and mobilized extremist groups to infiltrate school boards. Even in small districts the replacement of only one or two board members can create a highly polarized and often destructive dynamic for the community. In fact, a former Virginia school board member and current president of the Virginia School Boards Association recently opined that:

"Once pillars of local community engagement, school boards have become battlegrounds for political ideologies.” 

We can no longer assume that those elected to the school board have the best interest of our children and families in mind, because extreme political agendas have become paramount to some candidates. We no longer have the luxury of letting others choose our school board members. Instead we must be proactive: researching candidates, their priorities and plans for our school systems. Furthermore, we must share that information with voters so they can make informed decisions when they vote. 

4 Public Education and their partners (listed below) will assist activists who are advocating for good school board candidates in 2024 by sharing resources that can help them collect information about candidates and inform voters about the candidates. Some of these resources were used successfully in a county school board election in 2023.

4 Public Education is partnering with the following organizations:

ACLU People Power Fairfax, COVA Coalition, Fairfax Indivisible, Virginia Grassroots Coalition, Network NOVA, Red Wine and Blue

The 21 cities that are holding school board elections this November are shown on the map just below.  For advice and access to resources to help with city school board elections please add your name to this form and we will put you on our mailing list for sharing information and resources.


Map showing the 21 locations in Virginia that are holding school board elections in November 2024

 

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