Are the recent changes in the makeup of the Wake County school board a template for how Democrats can retake political control in North Carolina and in other areas led by Republicans?
In an online post last week, Rob Schofield, director of research and policy development for the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, complains that the Tea Party has put the country into “Crazy Land,” citing issues such as the recent federal government shutdown and the changes made by state leaders this year.
As a response, Schofield writes that “the nation would do well to check out a case study right here in Wake County, North Carolina.”
The 2009 elections produced a 5-4 Republican majority on the Wake school board. It went to 5-4 Democrat after the 2011 elections. This month’s elections have left the school board with seven Democrats and a member who used to be a registered Democrat.
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“Just a few years ago, voter apathy and a Tea Party uprising led the public schools in the most populous county in this closely divided state to be overrun by ideologues and bullies bent upon radical change,” Schofield writes. “Like the U.S. government itself, the system was dragged dangerously close to a precipitous cliff in the name of a radical, market fundamentalist ideology.
Four years later, those dark days are, thanks to the sustained and impassioned advocacy and organizing of hundreds of normal, average citizens, fast receding in the historical rear view mirror. Faced with losing their award winning school system, average citizens stood up and told the far right ideologues: ‘Not with our schools, you don’t!’”