Conservative Texas phone company fueling extremist takeover of schools – The Guardian US

Science & Technology

Patriot Mobile, a ‘Christian conservative wireless provider’, is targeting school board elections to push its far-right agenda
A conservative Texas-based phone company is planning a takeover of political offices in the US state, starting with public schools.
Patriot Mobile, which calls itself “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider”, has been fueling an extremist conservative movement taking over curriculum in public schools across Texas.
Leigh Wambsganss, the executive director of the company and its political arm, proudly declared victory in 11 out of 11 school board seats in the last election cycle in school districts around the Dallas-Fort Worth area on behalf of the company and conservative American Christians.
She said: “What this means is that now in north Texas, over 100,000 students who, before May, had leftist leadership now have conservative leadership!”
Earlier this year, the company established a political action committee, Patriot Mobile Action, which allows them to legally fundraise and finance political campaigns.
By acting as the financial backbone for the campaigns of far-right candidates for school boards, the phone company is seeking to promote its conservative agenda on issues like abortion, books and gender identity. It happens as across the US, school boards and local elections have witnessed intense fights as far-right candidates and groups have sought to win positions.
“Patriot Mobile Action is engaging on the front lines of this culture war. We are independently researching candidates and advocating on behalf of those who will stand for American values and stand against leftist indoctrination, racist Critical Race Theory and the sexualization of children that is rampant in public schools,” their website says.
Some key beliefs of the organization are American exceptionalism, “Critical Race Theory and Marxist policies have no place in schools or government,” and that “the United States constitution was founded on Judeo-Christian principles”.
In Keller independent school district, where Patriot Mobile played a key role in getting school board members elected, a new policy went into effect that required the board’s review and approval of books in its schools.
At the start of this academic year, faculty and staff were tasked with removing certain books previously challenged by parents like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, in order for the school board to review the books according to new unknown criteria.
Patriot Mobile also concentrated its efforts in the school board elections of Carroll independent school district, and emerged triumphant. It was here that Patriot Mobile donated “In God We Trust”signs, after a state law passed requiring public schools to display any signs with the nation’s official motto, so long as it was donated.
Local resident Sravan Krishna donated signs that read “In God We Trust” in Arabic and another with a rainbow background. The school board rejected those signs, citing having enough signs as the reason.
More recently, the Patriot Mobile sponsored CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), partly held in Dallas this year. Far-right politicians like Texas senator Ted Cruz and Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert were seen signing their books at Patriot Mobile sponsored booths at the event.
Patriot Mobile’s chief financial officer and founder Glenn Story was a guest on former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s podcast.
Speaking on Patriot Mobile’s recent wins in the state’s school boards, Bannon said: “The school boards are the key that picks the lock.”
The phone carrier said it will donate $1.5m to conservative causes in 2022 and expects to double that contribution by next year.