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The rise of outside money in local school board elections
Nov 8, 2022
Episode 811

The rise of outside money in local school board elections

School board races: no longer low-key affairs.

School board races have become some of the most contentious elections of the 2022 midterms. 

These used to be mostly local affairs, with candidates typically raising less than $1,000 from friends and family. But now it’s not uncommon for big national political action committees to sink tens of thousands into a single race.

“There’s both good and bad that money can bring,” said Rebecca Jacobsen, a professor of education policy at Michigan State University.

Jacobsen traces the rise in outside money to the nationalization of school board politics — a trend she says goes back more than a decade that’s been supercharged by pandemic and culture war issues. 

Today, we talk with Jacobsen about the implications of outside money in school board elections for education policy and local democracy. 

In the News Fix, we’ll discuss what’s being done to address voter intimidation at the polls. Plus, two cryptocurrency giants are joining forces.

Then, we’ll hear from a listener who wonders if the universe is sending us an Election Day message, and a mathematician who has thought a lot about “How Not to Be Wrong” answers the “Make Me Smart” question.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer