Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jim 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 – a statewide chapter of a national conservative advocacy organization called Save Our Schools – will be working with "dozens" of statewide organizations to support candidates in school board races.

Save Our Schools, on its website, advocates for bills that ban the teaching of critical race theory – which educators say aren't taught in K-12 schools in Ohio – and which force schools to use students' given name, rather than their preferred name. It even offers templates for bills that appear to have been introduced, and even put into law, by conservative state legislatures across the country.

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.