Ahead of midterms, parents are flexing their political muscles

By Sally Persons | Mike Emmanuel for Fox News

Parents spent much of 2021 fighting back against COVID-19 regulations and controversial curricula in their children’s schools, but now they’re mobilizing ahead of the midterms this fall in a move to expand their influence.  

Laura Zorc, the director of education reform at the conservative advocacy group Freedom Works and a Florida parent, said she became an activist after the Common Core debate in 2012. As a mother and grandmother of children in the public schools, however, she said other parents who hadn’t been activists also got fired up and have planned to make their voices heard at the polls. 

“The way that we’re going to get involved in these midterms is, we’re going to get out there, we’re going to volunteer, we’re going to show up and we are going to vote,” Zorc said. “And the individuals that are not protecting our parental rights, we are dedicated, and we are organizing to vote them out of office.”

Those parents’ initial involvement in the school system came after COVID-19 protocols and continued closures prompted them to question why educators weren’t reopening or loosening restrictions on students. After pushing for schools to reopen, they also voiced concern over the teaching of critical race theory and lesson plans related to gender and sexual orientation.

Some parents formed nonprofits as a way to band together and push for parents’ rights to be involved in their child’s education. The Moms for Liberty organization formed just over a year ago and has expanded to over 80,000 members across 34 states. Their co-founder said that although they’ve only made endorsements in school board races, some chapters have hosted events with candidates who they believe support their cause. 

“Our individual members can support anyone they want in any race,” said Tina Descovich, one of the co-founders of the group. “We welcome them to speak to our groups and to present to our organization where they stand on education and parental rights.”

Moms for Liberty has launched a political action committee in Florida as well as a few federal PACs, but the group was still working on fundraising. Descovich said some candidates have reached out to the group for an endorsement.

“We keep saying that 2022 is the year of the parent. We can’t wait to see what the fall brings,” she added. 

Parental Rights in Education has also launched a federal PAC in the last few years and endorsed candidates in school board races. Like others, the group also was looking to expand its influence.