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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A PAC that launched Monday will raise funds to support school board candidates who oppose public schools teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project, which details the history of slavery, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's the first national political action committee to target local, historically nonpartisan school boards. And it's another sign of how they have entered the crucible of partisan politics.

  • School boards that used to debate sn0w-day calendars and other lesser matters are now facing scrutiny over their COVID-19 closure decisions, and any adoption of a curriculum employing critical race theory — an academic movement focused on systemic racism in U.S. laws.

The big picture: Such debates have already fueled a surge of new candidates across the country, as Axios reported.

  • At the same time, critical race theory has become a prime target and talking point for many Republicans. On Saturday, the GOP-controlled Texas Senate passed a bill that would limit the teaching of it in the state's public schools.

Between the lines: Political consultant and conservative writer Ryan Girdusky is behind the new PAC, called the "1776 Project."

  • He told Axios his goal "is to help raise awareness and campaign on behalf of school board candidates nationwide who reject the divisive philosophy of critical race theory and want to push it out of our public schools.”
  • "Help us overturn any teaching of the 1619 project or critical race theory," reads the call to action at the bottom of the PAC's new home page. "Let’s bring back Patriotism and Pride in our American History."
  • A pop-up provides a field to "report a school promoting critical race theory."

Critical race theory and the 1619 Project are seen by proponents as helpful tools for teaching students about America’s history of racism and explaining persisting racial inequalities — subjects that are often overlooked in school curriculum.

What to watch: Girdusky, a Trump supporter, said he plans to focus on a handful of school board elections in places such as North Carolina and Florida, and build momentum from there.

  • The PAC was officially formed in December, according to an FEC filing, but the group launched and began to solicit donations Monday.

Go deeper

May 24, 2021 - Health

Health companies get into the school reopening business

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Health companies and startups are getting into the business of helping K-12 schools in the U.S. figure out how to safely reopen in person — and stay open in person — in the fall.

Why it matters: Even as cases and deaths come down nationwide, experts worry about the unknowns the fall could bring as people retreat indoors. That's a particular concern with the uncertainty in child COVID vaccine uptake and adults' looming need for booster shots.

Pacific Northwest soon to be ground zero for record-shattering heat

Computer model projection showing the unusually strong heat dome over the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. (PivotalWeather).

A heat wave is bringing unprecedented high temperatures to the Pacific Northwest — a region of the country typically cooled by the ocean, rather than central air conditioning. The heat will begin Friday and last into early next week.

Why it matters: The heat wave will shatter monthly and all-time temperature records in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the records could break the old milestones by several degrees.

At least one person killed, 99 missing after deadly Miami-area condo collapse

A massive search-and-rescue operation is underway after a portion of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday, according to AP.

The latest: Officials have accounted for 102 people who lived in the high-rise Champlain Towers South, but 99 people remained unaccounted for by midafternoon, said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

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