While Republicans aim to regain control of Congress this November, many conservative groups are focusing their efforts on school council elections.

These races used to be quiet, unbiased competitions focused on local issues but warmed up in 2021 when parents expressed frustration with the COVID-19 policy.

Now these US school council elections have become very guerrilla, surrounded by cultural battles over how issues like race and s*xuality are taught in the classroom.

Here, Newsweek looks at some of the most important upcoming school council elections.

A woman holds a critical racial theory plaque taught in classrooms at a Loudoun County Public School Board meeting in Ashburn, VA on October 12, 2021. race and s*xuality are taught in the classroom.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

Loudoun County, Virginia

The six candidates will compete for two seats on Loudoun County School Councils this November.

Nick Gothard, Tiffany Polifko and Andrew Hoyler vie for a seat to represent the Broad Run district, while Lauren Shernoff, Michael Rivera and Erika Ogedegbe vie for a seat to represent Leesburg.

Loudoun County became the center of the nation’s culture wars in 2021, after school council meetings became the subject of a dispute over race education, transgender rights, and COVID-19 injunctions. Loudoun County Public Schools have also come under fire from two s*xual assaults.

Texas Board of Education

Thirty-three applicants are running for all 15 seats on the Texas Board of Education, which dictates what students learn in Lone Star’s 1,200 public school districts.

Critical racial theory (CRT) was a key issue in the competitions, and two Republican members of the state council lost their primaries to candidates who pledged to remove critical racial theory from classrooms, according to Texas Tribune.

The CRT is a college-level theory that argues that racism and prejudice are embedded in US law and institutions. Public schools across the country said they don’t teach it, but CRT has become a universal term for critics of policies promoting equality and inclusion.

Sarasota County School Board

Bridget Ziegler, a founding member of Moms for Liberty, a conservative group that defends parental rights in schools, is running for re-election at Sarasota County School Council in Florida.

She was endorsed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who became involved in the debate over the school council elections in an effort to increase his influence while running for re-election. His name was listed as a potential candidate for the presidential election of 2024.

Ziegler’s opponent Dawnyelle Singleton told ABC News that disinformation in public schools “continued to spread,” and two of the most dividing issues were masking mandates at the height of the pandemic and critical racial theory.

“Public schools are under att*ck,” she said. “Our teachers and administrators are being challenged left and right, and our democracy is at stake.”

Expensive public schools

Six applicants are running for two vacancies on the board of Dearborn Public Schools in Michigan. They are Ned Apigian, Hussein Berry, Patrick D’Ambrosio, Steve Durant, Angie Hammock-Isaacson, and Redhwan Saleh.

Dearborn Public Schools recently made headlines after conservative Muslim parents tried to pressure school authorities to ban LGBTQ +-themed books.

Republicans who have made efforts across the country to ban books with LGBTQ + content from schools have shown support for parents.

United School District of San Francisco

San Francisco residents removed three progressive members of the city’s school council in early 2022 in connection with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

But progressives may return as three slots will be available on November 8.

Three candidates – Lainie Motamedi, Lisa Weissman-Ward and Ann Hsu – were appointed to the board by the mayor of London Breed after dismissal.

Gabriela L√≥pez, former CEO removed as a result of the recall, is also running alongside Alida Fisher and Karen Fleshman, who both objected to the dismissal. The trio was supported by many of the city’s more progressive politicians and groups, according to The Chronicle of San Francisco.

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