By Lisa Graves and Alyssa Bowen
Right-wing operatives are increasing their attacks on U.S. public education with an expanding number of legal complaints to censor books and target teachers on an array of issues —preventing them from teaching U.S. history accurately, treating LGBTQ+ students with the respect they deserve, and forming support groups for kids and teachers of color. These attacks will likely continue to escalate through 2024 as wedge issues intended to feed the right-wing voting base and lay the groundwork for redirecting funds from public schools to private recipients.
One of the main players in these attacks is Parents Defending Education (PDE), a dark money nonprofit group launched in 2021 in the midst of the Virginia state election cycle. Over the past two years, PDE has become a central actor in the right-wing assault on public schools across the nation. The group has trained local agitators to grab media attention, sued school districts for supposed anti-white discrimination, and railed against the teaching of social emotional learning, accurate U.S. history, and even ethnic studies in schools.
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