Monday, May 15, 2023

PA: The Culture War School Board Checklist

This is of most interest to folks in my region, but worth noting elsewhere because I'm sure this kind of thing will continue to pop up all over. 

The American Family Association, a longstanding conservative Christian fundamentalist group that mostly works against LGBTQ rights and porn. Founded nationally by Doug Wildmon, now headed by his son Tim. They're big on boycotts, like boycotting convenience store chains for carrying Playboy and Penthouse, companies that advertise in gay magazines, Disney a zillion times for a long list of offenses. 

Their Pennsylvania affiliate, the last time I checked, was the work of two women located in my neck of the woods. Like so many activist groups on both sides, they don't so much have members as subscribers, and they depend heavily on the church network to get their word out. As a local theater director, I've been on the receiving end of one of their public calls for a boycott, and it is better than the best marketing money can buy, so they tend to avoid publicly mounting these campaigns.

They've been busy sending questionaires out to area school board candidates, and the areas of concern will be familiar to anyone who's been following the culture wars:

Do you support emphasis on phonics? Are you anti-trans? Would you like some "don't say gay" rules? Do you want the feds out of ed? Abstinence only sex ed?  All the classics are here, presented without any nuance or complexity, and focusing on parental rights for only the parents who believe the Correct Things. It's a quick guide to the far right agenda for schools.

If you are in my region, here are the results that AGA got for their response. As one might expect, the slate for Penncrest, where they're already all in on anti-LGBTQ, reading suppression, and the rest of the agenda-- that crew says yes to it all. Other districts in the area can check to see which candidates want to prioritize the suppression of students who don't fit the Proper Mold over fully educating them. 

I do wish I'd gotten my hands on this sooner, as the primary election is tomorrow, but it's still worth look. School districts suffer when these folks get in charge. 

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