School board elections become battleground over diverse, inclusive curriculum
The upcoming school board elections are now a political battleground over diversity equity and inclusion curriculum, according to a number of education groups.
It's a topic at the center of many heated debates at recent school board meetings in addition to districts COVID-19 policies and book banning.
Many parents say they are seeing the May 17 election as a moment to change leadership in favor of their values.
"It's very important to us to have someone looking out for us as parents," says Abigail O'Brien, vice chair of the Putnam chapter of Mom's for Liberty.
Mom's for Liberty is a nationwide organization. The local chapter is concerned with curriculum on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
O'Brien said she is not against including diverse perspectives but is concerned about the way it is taught.
"I think that history needs real history and some of our history isn't great, but i'ts real history," says O'Brien. "Lets teach the kids the history and not tell them how they are supposed to feel about it."
O'Brien says she and many parents in her district -- Putnam Valley School District -- feel their perspectives have been ignored and that is why they want to elect like-minded school board candidates in order to maintain parental control over what is being taught in the classroom.
"There are so many trickle down things from Albany, contracts, things that are not being disclosed until the policy and procedures are in place," says O'Briend.
Others feel the ideas of groups like Mom's for Liberty are a threat to academic freedom and could cause political distortion of school curriculum.
"To prohibit topics from discussion, I think is wrong," says Deborah Porder, co-founder of Teach the Truth Westchester.
Porder is worried that if candidates who are against including diverse perspectives are elected, it may result in more books being banned and cause lessons on race, and gender from being taught.
"I think there are people who want to distract us from the core mission of our schools, which is fostering student achievement in a supportive and nurturing environment," says Porder.
Both organizations agree the upcoming school board elections will play a pivotal role in the future of children in public schools