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Local school boards emerge as hot races in November election

Fueled by the pandemic and heated debates about "critical-race theory," local school board elections have attracted more attention from political groups.
Credit: AP
Jennifer Feucht, candidate for Olentangy Local Board of Education, delivers campaign flyers and yard signs to Brad and Tina Krider Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Westerville, Ohio. Across Ohio and the nation, parental protests over social issues like mask mandates, gender-neutral bathrooms, teachings on racial history, sexuality and mental and emotional health are being leveraged into school board takeover campaigns. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Races for local school board seats have emerged as intense political battlegrounds in the upcoming Nov. 2 elections across the U.S. 

Parental protests that started during COVID-19 lockdowns are evolving into full-fledged board takeover campaigns. 

National conservative groups offering training academies for right-leaning candidates are helping stoke the challenges, which could have a dramatic effect on public education if they succeed. 

FreedomWorks, a conservative group that supported the rise of former President Donald Trump, launched a candidate academy in March that already has trained about 300 people nationwide.

Takeover supporters say school boards and teachers unions have lost touch with parents, while some sitting board members say the challengers are political extremists. 

National education groups say the races are being used to test messaging ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

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