The Republican Party hopes to establish itself as the champion of “parental rights.” They have aligned themselves with “Moms for Liberty,” “Parents Defending Education,” and other well-funded (Koch, Walton) astroturf groups demanding book banning, censorship of courses about race and gender, and the “right” of parents to disrupt school board meetings, control the curriculum, and harass teachers.

At the worst points of the pandemic, these groups emerged to oppose masks and vaccinations. Their agenda grew from there to opposing critical race theory (even when they can’t define it), sex education, and anything that might make some children uncomfortable.

In September 2021, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking help and advice for school boards that were besieged and threatened by angry, organized demonstrations, by so-called Proud Boys, and assorted malingerers.

State school board associations in red states were outraged by the NSBA letter, and some canceled their membership in the nonpartisan NSBA (I don’t know whether they have since rejoined). The national group withdrew the letter, but the fight goes on.

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the incendiary chair of the House Judisry Committee, has issued subpoenas to former NSBA officials as part of his investigation of “mistreatment” of parents protesting “woke” policies. I understand that he has the power to oversee government action, but I don’t understand how he can investigate the NSBA, a private organization concerned about threats of violence to its members.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans issued another series of subpoenas Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into what they contend is the mistreatment of parents who protested “woke” school board policies.

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, demanded documents and testimony from three individuals, including the former heads of the National School Boards Association, for “requesting federal law enforcement assistance to target parents voicing concerns at local school board meetings.”

The Ohio Republican is flexing his newly appointed subpoena power to probe a September 2021 letter that the nonprofit representing U.S. school boards sent to the Biden administration. The letter warned of rising threats against school board members over coronavirus restrictions and teaching around race.

The letter to the Justice Department, signed by Chip Slaven, then the interim executive director of the NSBA, and Viola Garcia, then the president of the NSBA, outlined more than 20 instances of threats, harassment, disruption and acts of intimidation in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and other states.

Jordan, who also chairs a new subcommittee dedicated to what Republicans assert is the “weaponization” of government, has said that as a result of the letter, the Justice Department designated “a specific threat tag” for school board-related threats and opened investigations “into parents simply for speaking out on behalf of their children.” Those allegation are outlined in a GOP report released in November.

The NSBA has repeatedly stated that the letter’s focus was on the issue of violence and threats, not protests from parents….

It is all part of the Republican Party’s larger effort to turn the issue of ”parents’ rights” into a rallying cry, harnessing the frustration with schools that reached a boiling point during the pandemic when educators grappled with masking requirements, closures and remote learning for children.

Jim Jordan is a fervent Trumper and a fervent election denier. He was the first chair of the House Freedom Caucus, its most rightwing members. He’s the guy who is seldom seen wearing a jacket. He can be counted on to weaponize his new power to harass his political enemies.