A booby-trapped billboard. A list of demands. A conservative media frenzy.
Jeff Porter, superintendent of a wealthy suburban school district in Maine, had no idea that his community was about to become part of a national battle when in the summer of 2020 a father began accusing the district of trying to “indoctrinate” his children by teaching critical race theory.
To Porter, the issue was straightforward: The district had denounced white supremacy in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police, but did not teach critical race theory, the academic study of racism’s pervasive impact.
But the parent, Shawn McBreairty, grew increasingly disgruntled and soon connected with No Left Turn in Education, a rapidly growing national group that supports parents as they fight against lessons on systemic racism. That action turned a heated conflict with the school board into one that soon drew national attention, mobilized by a new, increasingly coordinated movement with the backing of major conservative organizations and media outlets.