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Renacci announces PAC to flip school boards in Ohio to counter 'woke' policy

Jim Renacci
Renacci For Governor
Jim Renacci in 2022.

Former Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Renacci Thursday announced a new political action committee to try to flip Ohio school boards with conservative-leaning candidates.

Renacci said in a news release that the new Save Our Schools Ohio PAC will help candidates raise funds and will use data to identify "dozens" of key local school board races

"We have to fight for education and our children and grandchildren," he said.

The former congressman argued local boards of education are doing little to combat "woke policies" and alleged, without evidence, that boards are focusing resources on weakening core educational standards for students. He did not define what "woke policies" the PAC would be seeking candidates to run against.

Renacci also did not mention in the release whether the initiative would specifically look to boost conservative candidates. Ohio’s Board of Education elections are nonpartisan, but increasingly, conservative candidates in recent years have sought to get representation on boards of education across the country, many of whom advocate for banning of books and removal of policies meant to welcome and aid LGBTQ+ students. Renacci said in the release that in order to prepare students for the future, “Woke curriculum and spending tax payer dollars on liberal school sponsored programs won’t get it done.”

Renacci said Save Our Schools Ohio will be working with "dozens" of statewide organizations to support candidates in school board races.

Tom Weyand, a spokesperson, said "woke policies" Save Our Schools Ohio will be looking to combat include the teaching of critical race theory in schools – which educators argue isn't taught in K-12 schools in Ohio – and in some instances the use of "social-emotional learning," a curricula that schools do use that's meant to foster positive social and emotional coping skills with students.

Weyand called those initiatives a "big distraction" that take away from "traditional education time in the classroom."

Corrected: January 27, 2023 at 9:57 AM EST
Save Our Schools Ohio is not affiliated with the national Save Our Schools initiative, as was initially reported. The national initiative does advocate for similar policies but is affiliated with a separate conservative-leaning organization called Heritage Action for America. The story has been updated to include comments from spokesperson Tom Weyand.
Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.