Will’s PAC also endorsed Carol Beth Litkuhy for the Rochester Public Schools board, which spent $188,750 to settle the case after it became clear that the central office staff collected information about parents’ social media posts.

Litkovhy, a former public school teacher, told the Bridge that her top priorities are to “restore our district’s focus on academic performance, transparency and partnership with parents, and accountability.”

She is suing the school district in Oakland District Court with the help of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation over a request she made for diversity, equity and inclusion materials.

“I don’t see why that should be a problem. If they’re proud of what they do and think they’re doing a great job, why not just talk to me about it?”

Lori Grein, the district’s executive director of strategic communications, told Bridge in an email that the district has already provided the requested materials and offered to schedule an in-person review of the copyrighted materials, but “the requesting party has not scheduled a time to review” them.

Grein also listed several statistics that show high student academic achievement and said parents have representation on several committees, including strategic planning, health advisory and curriculum review committees.

Elsewhere in southeast Michigan, the conservative rights group Michigan Liberty Leaders held at least three sessions titled What’s Really Happening in Schools? It’s time to find out!” in Livonia, Northville and Clinton.

Maria Giancotti spoke at the sessions — founder of the group who had been a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company for 20 years before that to become an “Educational Consultant and Advocate” in December 2020.

Her presentation included screenshots and references to topics such as critical race theory, sexuality education, and Title IX (the federal protection against sex-based discrimination in schools), among others.

On one page, he shows a diagram with arrows showing that social-emotional learning and “culturally appropriate learning” come from critical race theory and argues that the theory is “harmful” by encouraging discrimination and dividing people into “oppressors” and “victims » based on their skin color.

Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Aquist defended her district in an emailed statement that highlighted the work of bus drivers, secretaries, teachers and principals.

“Yes, let’s really find out what’s going on in our schools so we can shout from the rooftops that our schools are beacons of hope and promise in every community,” she said.

“A small but loud group”

Others sharply criticize the movement.

Mitchell Robinson, a Democratic candidate for the State Board of Education, said the wave of complaints from parents is a “disingenuous” attempt to undermine the public education system by a “small but vocal group of people.”

“This is largely a manufactured crisis, designed to inflame tensions among easily misled voters and designed to drive a wedge between teachers and parents,” said Robinson, who is an assistant professor of music education at Michigan State University.

In Forest Hills outside Grand Rapids, mother Becky Olson co-founded Support Forest Hills Public Schools, a grassroots organization that his website says it aims to “support and protect our public schools from partisan and fabricated attacks.”

A forum for school board candidates was recently held here because “the community needs to hear candidates talk about topics that are really applicable to school board,” Olson said.

Many activists don’t have a clear understanding of school boards’ responsibilities and have fallen under “fear mongering” by national partisan groups, she said.

“I don’t know if their vision is that they’re going to take on this role as a school board member and they’re going to sit around a table in a meeting with a gavel and say yes to this book, no.” to this book,” “no CRT,” “no LGBTQ references,” Olson said.

“It could be their vision of what the job entails. But the real work involves parsing the district’s complicated 400-page budget. Deciding whether that’s appropriate, evaluating how much more funds they might need to raise through bonds or millage, and getting community support to get through it without demeaning the county and saying they’re going to destroy it and take it over.” »

Dixon: Parental rights are a top priority

Dixon, who is trailing Whitmer in the polls, said her top priority is that “to preserve parental rights» in Michigan.

She suggested “Parents’ Right to Know Act,” which requires schools to publish the names of textbooks, course syllabi and diversity consultants hired by school districts.

“A culture of secrecy and defiance has developed around the most controversial topics,” Dixon said in a campaign video in January. “And too many believe that parents’ opinions and concerns are simply unfounded.”

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