The Signal (Episode 7) | Understanding Backlash Politics and Religious Conservatives Inciting School Board Wars, with PRRI’s Melissa Deckman

The ideology and worldview of conservative activist parents is creating and contributing to the ongoing school board wars.

Melissa Deckman, Ph.D., is the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. Her first book, School Board Battles: The Christian Right in Local Politics, won the American Political Science Association’s Hu Morken Award for best book on religion and politics. Melissa is also author of Tea Party Women, which examines the role of women in conservative politics and co-author of  Women and Politics, a top-selling textbook on gender politics in the United States.

Deckman’s commentary and research about politics has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Hill, Vice News, The Wall Street Journal, 538, and Politico, among other outlets. Prior to her appointment as PRRI’s CEO, Deckman was the Louis L. Goldstein Professor of Public Affairs and chair of the Political Science Department at Washington College, where she taught courses on American politics, women and politics, religion and politics, research methods, and state and local politics.

Melissa and I talk about the ideology and worldview conservative activist parents are promoting, and how if you cut through the noise they are making you realize they are in the minority. 

Host Cyril Mychalejko’s 5 Book Recommendations to Further Shine a Light on Today’s War on Public Education in America

  1. The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, by Katherine Stewart
  2. Dark Money and the Politics of School Privatization, by Maurice Cunningham
  3. A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School, by Jennifer Berkshire
  4. Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
  5. From the New Deal to the War on Schools: Race, Inequality, and the Rise of the Punitive Education State, by Daniel S. Moak


EPISODE 2The Merchants of Deception: The Dark Money and Front Groups Behind School Privatization, with Maurice Cunningham

EPISODE 6The Right’s Long War On Public Education, With Jennifer Berkshire

The Signal is produced by Kevin Mahoney, Raging Chicken Media.

Music by Maf é Tulà and Cartas a Felice, “La Loca.” Panela Music. 

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Cyril Mychalejko

Cyril Mychalejko is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bucks County Beacon. Read his columns on Sundays and follow him on Twitter.

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