Putting Education Forward As a Main Political Issue

Virginia Candidate for Governor Glenn Youngkin / Photo by Glenn Youngkin via Flickr

Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin said his hard-fought win was not a campaign. It was a movement. It sure looked like one with packed events in the closing weeks, even in traditionally Democrat areas. A significant part of that movement focused on the K-12 curriculum. As a result, Republicans nationwide are already commenting on the need to incorporate education issues into campaigns in 2022.

Traditionally, Democrats have owned the education issue. Former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter appeared on MSNBC after the Virginia election. She said, “The one thing that we need to make sure of is that Republicans in 2022 don’t become is the party of parents. Because we need to be the party of parents.” She continued, “And we [Democrats] are. We’re the ones that care about school funding. We’re the ones that care about making sure parents can send their kids to school because they have jobs to go to.”

So, how has the Democrat formula of more money and absent parents worked?  Since the 1970s, education policy has dramatically increased the number of administrators while holding down teacher salaries and increasing classroom size. The administrative burden has only increased since Congress established the Department of Education. Our performance is declining in K-12 compared to other countries.

Alleigh Marré is the mother of two and a Virginia resident who was part of the movement of parents concerned about K-12 education. She is president of Free to Learn Action, a 501(c)(4) that is determined to get politics out of the classroom. The organization produced hard-hitting ads before and during the election talking about education quality, school safety, and curriculum. Marré believes education is a non-partisan issue because parents want effective and safe education for their children no matter what they think about tax policy.

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