Group Releases Playbook on How to Organize Against Right-Wing School Boards

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 30: Protestors demonstrate outside the Moms for Liberty Convention on June 30, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ACT UP Philly, Youth Communist League, and Grandparents for Truth and Defense of Democracy organized protests. (Photo by Mark Makela for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

September 12, 2023

An organization promoting inclusive education for children from grade school through high school released a “playbook” to help students, parents and community members organize around upcoming school board elections. One Bucks County parent shares how her organization pushes back against censorship and right-wing school boards.

The Campaign for Our Shared Future, an organization that advocates for inclusive education for students from grade school through high school, released a playbook on Tuesday designed to give students, parents and community members the resources they need to fend off far-right takeovers of their children’s education.

We created The Movement Playbook to give families, students, and community members the tools to take back control of their schools. Our students are best served when families and educators work together and decisions are made in conjunction with school board members who understand the unique needs of the community,” Heather Harding Ed.D, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Our Shared Future, said in a statement. 

The playbook serves as an organizing tool for students, parents, and volunteers to come up with strategies for identifying and growing leaders and developing a get-out-the-vote strategy for school board races. It also gives stakeholders the messaging tools they need to tell voters why these school board races are important.  

One of the parents looking to push back against and raise awareness about what is happening in her Central Bucks School District is Kate Nazemi, who started Advocate for Inclusive Education (AFIE). Their work aims to educate community members on school board policies, encourage them to attend school board meetings and advocate for research-based decision making, inclusion and equity in schools.

The Central Bucks School District outside of Philadelphia has found itself under constant scrutiny over the past couple of years following its takeover by far-right activists. The school board has been mired in controversy over book bans, banning pride flags in classrooms, retaliating against school teachers for being allies to students in the LGBTQ community and giving their superintendent, Abram Laucbaugh, a 40% raise to $315,000 per year. 

Nazemi sees the efforts to ban books and expression in the classrooms as forms of government censorship and the slippery slope it could have in communities such as Central Bucks.

“We live in Bucks County, which is for the most part a very privileged community. I think a lot of people sort of think and see their kids heading off and having great days and, what’s the big deal if a book’s not available and the library?,” Nazemi said in an interview. 

“And they’re not really putting together the larger picture, which is that this is government censorship and it’s something that this country has always fought against.”

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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