Saturday, April 20, 2024

Moms For Liberty 3.0

First, there was Moms For Liberty Beta, called the Florida Coalition of School Board Members. Then came the actual Moms For Liberty launch, a group of ladies who were upset about masking and school building closures. That gave way pretty quickly to M4L 2.0, the group that was all about banning naughty books and clamping down on LGBTA ideology (whatever that is).

M4L 2.0 cruised along pretty well for a while. But as more people came to understand what they were up to, their thin skins, their desire to tell other moms what children should be allowed to read. their intolerance-- well, opposition started to swell. And their last election round wasn't very impressive (we'll never know exactly how unimpressive because, perhaps already sensing that their brand was tarnished, they backed away from endorsing so many candidates). And their beloved Ron DeSantis had to slink home in humiliation and defeat. And they went on 60 Minutes and couldn't really explain the terrible alleged indoctrination they were crusading against.

Make way for version 3.0.

The moms have been rolling this out for a while, like the time M4L honcho Tina Descovich appeared at the DeSantis presser about how his book ban was being abused.  She led with the statistic that the literacy rate in Florida is 40%, which is about 40% off (it's 80%). I think she means to say that the proficiency rate on the NAEP is 40%, and at this point anyone who says NAEP proficiency is "at grade level" is just not trying to get it right (NAEP proficiency is A or B level). But her point is that there is a public education crisis in America.

Then she wagged her fingers at the "media in the back of the room" and says "All you can do is be obsessed with book bans that are not happening." She hammered home that "we the parents" have had enough, and when is the media going to start covering the literacy crisis.

They're currently rolling out 3.0 in a series of town halls, like this one in North Carolina hosted by co-Mom Tiffany Justice as reported by Emily Walkenhorst.
Speakers focused on problems in public schools — chiefly, worsening student behavior and test scores that remain below pre-pandemic levels — and suggested more discipline and having schools cut ties with federal programs and outside nonprofits as solutions.

You can watch the whole thing here (all two hours and eleven minutes of it). Some of the standards are here. Open with a Jesus prayer. Stand up for parents' God-ordained right to control their children's everything. Indoctrination! But then we swing on to other topics. 

Moms For Liberty 3.0 is deeply concerned about student achievement (have you seen those dreadful NAEP scores-- let us misrepresent the amount of proficiency) and school discipline (here's an anecdote about something awful that happened to a kid in school). Also, special needs students are not getting their proper services.

The complaints about indoctrination, gender ideology, CRT--all the classics--are still part of their shtick. And these days, the happy warriors who once handed DeSantis a shiny sword are now decrying the political persecution of Donald Trump. Witch hunt! Also, M4L 3.0 will no longer do political endorsements, but you know, that's just because they're designated candidates were harassed. 

Does 3.0 represent a serious shift for the organization? Not really. The fundamental message of M4L has always been the same-- public schools are scary and terrible and good God-fearing people should either take them over or abandon them. Parental rights (but not student rights)! As Chris Rufo, hot young culture panic agitator, told a Hillsdale College audience, "To get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a place of universal school distrust." 

M4L have aligned themselves with far right group like the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute. Their leaders are experienced and well-connected comms professionals. None of that has changed. 

Like anyone else whose mission is to manage comms and break things, they are going to periodically adjust their approach and set aside old dull tools for new, more effective ones. Learning loss panic has been hot for a while, and school discipline problems are a legitimate issue. "Beware outside groups" is a new skin for their old government-imposed LGBTQ/SEL panic wine. 

New tools. New approached. New talking points for the brand. We'll see if the new tools help them achieve their usual goals. 


  1. It’s disturbing that these fools talk about banning books, then, in the same breath, they gripe about reading scores. Don’t they think the two might be connected? Talking about book bans does NOT encourage children to read! 😡

  2. I think book bans encourage people to read. I read Gender Queer after i read it had been banned. When i was much
    younger and overseas where publications was allowed I made sure to read Lady Chatterly's Lover, Henry Miller's Tropic
    series, My Life and Loves by Frank Harris and a few other things that translated interesting passage into Latin.
    non--anonomously bliss in San Francisco

  3. M4L ran my school board for two years and did a lot of damage. We just fixed the last of the curriculum changes from Hillsdale College Jordan Adams- removed Jekyll and Hyde from 7th grade English. (Way too challenging for most 7th graders)