“The number one issue was definitely critical race theory. I wouldn’t tell them my concern. I would ask them theirs and that would be their first concern,” Amy Cawvey told host Ainsley Earhardt.
Cawvey, a stay-at-home mother of three, won a seat on the Lansing Board of Education in Kansas.
In Cawvey’s race, the other two victorious candidates also ran against critical race theory.
Cawvey said the other candidates claimed that the racially charged academic movement did not exist because it’s not listed in official Kansas state curriculum.
“But we know that that’s not true. We need to keep that out of our schools. I think that helped us win because parents are very concerned about it. They have a say in their children’s education and we showed that with the election.”
Critical race theory is a controversial philosophy – a progressive idea that proponents say can increase racial equity and which critics describe as Marxist, anti-American and neo-racist.
The local school board elections came while Virginia Republicans won a statewide race for the first time in 12 years due to campaigning against critical race theory. At the center of Virginia’s gubernatorial election was a raging debate about critical race theory (CRT) that saw fireworks in one of its most important counties electorally.
Republican Glenn Youngkin beat out former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the top of the ticket. Winsome Sears, running to become the first Black female lieutenant governor of Virginia, declared victory, though the Associated Press has not yet called the race. Republican Jason Miyares likewise declared victory in the race for attorney general, though the AP has also not called that race. Sears and Miyares’ Democratic opponents have not yet conceded.
Earlier this year, school board meetings in Loudoun County, Virginia, started capturing national media attention as frustrated parents demanded changes to its so-called “equity” trainings and racially charged materials.
The months leading up to Tuesday’s election saw both major candidates taking starkly different approaches to the issue. And by the end of last month, Youngkin had taken a substantial lead among voters rating education as their top issue.
Southlake, Texas school board winner Andrew Yeager decided to run to help clean up the image of his hometown, which he felt was being given a bad representation in the media. Yeager, a TV executive, won in the affluent suburb northwest of Dallas, campaigning against critical race theory.
“I decided to run because I thought my skills could be used to sort of bring the temperature down. A lot of media focus on our town and probably the thing that brought everybody together was to say that we just want commonsense approaches. We are not perfect to fixing some of the things that we have. And people love our town, love our community, it’s very welcoming, and it’s kind of gotten a bad wrap lately,” he said.
Strongsville, Ohio school board winner Sharon Kilbane was alarmed by children’s “mental health” while being at home due to the coronavirus-induced shutdown of schools.
“Mental health is a big thing to me,” she said.
“I looked at these kids and I just didn’t feel like we were doing our best for them. Like we were kind of expecting them to save us, I think we need to be saving them.”
The dispute over critical race theory and mask mandates drove more people to run for school board more this year than over the past decade.
“In Cuyahoga County, the number of people running for suburban school boards steadily declined between 2001 and 2017. This year, 140 people vied for 83 open spots in 30 districts, according to numbers from the county Board of Elections,” Cleveland.com reported.
Kilbane called critical race theory a “divisive ideology.”
“I don’t know what the end game is because I don’t know really who in the end they are going to help. I mean, we should be building up Black children, White children. I just worry that we’re going to just divide our society more. And that scares me,” she said.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.