FreedomWorks Mobilizing School Board Takeovers to Fight ‘Socialist Brainwashing’ and Critical Race Theory

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon (Image from C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" March 19, 2021)

​FreedomWorks, the astroturf organizing and advocacy group​, is among the right-wing organizations spreading fear of ​the teaching of the racial history of the United States ​to motivate conservative activists to run for school board seats nationwide.

​Such right-wing fearmongering is framed around the term ​”critical race theory​,” ​an academic framework for analyzing systemic racism. Right-wing activists, religious-right groups, and Republican political operatives have spent the past year using inflammatory, red-baiting claims about critical race theory to fan fears and racial resentments among conservative parents and justify laws banning schools from exploring racism in American history, institutions, and culture.

Right Wing Watch recently reported on the right-wing Leadership Institute’s project to help candidates “take over” local school boards by running campaigns focused on ​their conception of critical race theory. FreedomWorks, a group funded by corporate interests and right-wing foundations, has its own operation to encourage right-wing takeovers of local school boards.

In an email sent to its supporters Wednesday, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said the group has held 66 events in 10 states, training ​more than 2,000 activists and recruiting candidates to run for school board. The group’s “Parents Know BEST” initiative is also nearing completion of a six-week online “academy” to train people to run school board campaigns.

The Wednesday email charges that “leftists” are trying to shut down FreedomWorks’ efforts “so they can have free reign to indoctrinate children with their Marxist ideology.” The group wants to get right-wing activists elected to school boards where “they can take direct action to root out CRT and any other left-wing indoctrination.”

In a “Stop Socialist Brainwashing Survey” sent to supporters via text message this week, FreedomWorks asked a series of loaded questions about critical race theory before asking for money to “continue mobilizing the nation’s largest grassroots network to STOP the far-Left’s Socialist Brainwashing schemes.”

For example, the survey asserts, “According to Critical Race Theory, shredding the Constitution, the rule of law, and teaching children to hate everything that’s made the United States the greatest and freest nation in human history is the only way to ‘fix’ America’s supposed ‘systemically racist’ institutions.” It then asks:

Do you OPPOSE teaching children that the only way to “fix” America is to hate everything that’s made the U.S. the greatest and freest country in human history, and to transform our Republic into a socialist “utopia?”

FreedomWorks is also mobilizing opposition to federal voting rights legislation and raising money to help Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 by targeting 21 Democratic representatives in districts won by Donald Trump in 2016 and exploiting upcoming Republican-controlled redistricting efforts that Brandon hopes could make a couple dozen additional Democratic members more vulnerable.