Republicans already primed to overplay their hand on education, race in 2022


But the GOP’s education exuberance is quickly propagating a parade of grotesque anti-education policies across the country. Virginia’s education debate, for instance, quickly devolved in one county into calls for book burning within a week of the gubernatorial election.

Oklahoma lawmakers have now proposed a law giving parents the unilateral power to banish any book they dislike for whatever reason from a public school library.

“I’ve read this proposed law in Oklahoma twice,” Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain tweeted on Wednesday. “Any parent can unreviewably demand a book be removed from a public school library. Any official not complying is to be fired and the district to pay the complaining parent at least $10K/day the book stays.”

That is, it should go without saying, patently absurd. But extremist GOP lawmakers and their zealot herd were assured to head down this path just as soon as they believed they had the political upper hand on education. In so doing, they stand a very good chance of further alienating exactly the type of suburban voters they hoped to win over, according to this month’s Daily Kos/Civiqs survey.

When asked what age was appropriate for children to be taught about race and racism, a 46% plurality of registered voters said, “Elementary school age, or younger.” Another 16% said middle or junior high school age.

Only 5% said high school age; and 26% responded, “I do not think children need to be taught about race and racism.”

That means a very solid 62% of respondents believe teachings about race and racism are appropriate among kids in middle school or younger, with the vast majority of them saying elementary school is the right age.

Meanwhile, just 31% of respondents believe those teachings should begin in high school or, in fact, never be taught at all. In other words, the type of exuberances we are already witnessing from GOP officials and lawmakers are likely to play to a very fringe audience next year, which certainly won’t help Republicans in the dwindling number of competitive districts and could easily kneecap them. 

Democrats would do well to continually remind voters that the GOP’s “Parents’ Bill of Rights” really means handing the keys of their child’s education to a bunch of nutter fascists at the local level.

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