Ron Johnson encourages parents to run for school board, says education issues will continue to motivate voters

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – U.S. Senator Ron Johnson encouraged parents who are frustrated with their school district policies to run for office and believes education issues will continue to play a major role in upcoming elections.

The Oshkosh Republican made the comments during a listening session with Dane County parents who say they are 'fed up' with COVID-19 policies, gender identity curriculum and critical race theory, a term that’s fueling controversy over concerns about how race and diversity is taught in K-12 schools.

With many school board seats up for grabs during the April 5 election, Sen. Johnson said he believes education issues will continue to play a crucial role in future races.

“I think it will be quite motivating,” Johnson told reporters. “That’s not just because I want to make it motivating, it’s just the reality on the ground as I’ve traveled across the state talking to parent groups.”

During the roundtable discussion, Hillarie Roth, an Altoona School Board member and candidate for the 68th Assembly District, said she is “tired of the woke culture.”

I want my children to learn math, not CRT [critical race theory],” Roth said. “I want my children to learn English, not sexual practice….I want teachers to want to work with me as a parent, not against me.”

Discussions about race, equity and slavery in public schools are becoming a top polarizing issue for voters.

Some panelists argued children are using too much screen time in school, suggesting it’s connecting students to pornographic images and disrupting their education.

“Content filters can’t block it all,” said Wendy Dorm, a parent whose children attend Elmbrook School District. “We didn’t see there were a lot of pluses to Chromebook time and we thought traditional materials were not causing problems.”

When asked if Johnson agrees technology is harming students'  education, he said: “This is their testimony. This is their viewpoint...that is something that should concern parents if that is happening."

Johnson, who’s running for a third term, also encouraged parents to run for school board seats if their district refuses to hear their concerns.

“I've encouraged people, if they are concerned about it, go talk to their school boards. If they don't listen to you, consider running for school board and a lot of people are,” said Johnson.

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