Florida school board member boasts 'woke' teachers are 'working from the inside'

Three progressive members of the San Francisco school board were recalled in February after a series of controversies

A Sarasota schools board member revealed at a recent talk that "woke" teachers are "working from the inside." 

"I just wanted to give a little reassurance that here in the state of Florida, there are school board members that are woke," school board vice chair Tom Edwards said, in a video originally shared by Florida GOP vice chairman Christian Ziegler and posted on LibsofTikTok. "We are here! And and we are working… We have your backs. You need to know, we have your backs." 

"And we're working in the best strategic spot because we’re on the inside," he added. "We're working from the inside."  

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Edwards said it was a "long, slow process" but he's "built trust" in the schools. 

"And I'm not the only one in the state of Florida," he continued. "And I need to tell you, so that you feel a little better. There are coalitions forming to protect you."

In this photo from Feb. 24, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2022 CPAC conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

In this photo from Feb. 24, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2022 CPAC conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Edwards' declaration comes amid progressive criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., for signing the Parental Rights in Education bill. The legislation, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law by critics, bans discussions of sexuality and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. 

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Parents and activist groups blasted the board member's admission as proof school boards are not interested in letting parents be more involved in their kids' education.

"This school board member said the quiet part out loud," Fox News contributor Karol Markowicz told Fox News Digital. "Parents know there are people actively working to stop their kids from getting a real education but it’s good to hear it admitted. Now parents can know what they are up against as they continue their fight to get their kids what they need."

"Yes, please woke school board members- be more vocal about your plans to subvert parental rights," Moms for Liberty tweeted. 

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In an op-ed for the Herald-Tribune, Edwards argued that the Sarasota school board's relationship with parents and the community is less antagonistic than the media has suggested. Despite recent tense school board meetings, Edwards said the members do not have a "serious problem" with parents. 

"These frequent disruptions at School Board meetings have put Sarasota County in the spotlight of the national media," Edwards wrote. "And it would be easy to surmise from this coverage that we have a serious problem with most of the parents in the Sarasota County school system. Yet the opposite is the actual truth.

"The trust and excellent relationships that have been built among parents, teachers and school administrators are outstanding. In the annual parent survey, more than 70% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their children's schools see them as partners in the education of their kids."

He admitted they still have "tremendous work" to do to close the achievement gap.

A pedestrian walks past a San Francisco Unified School District office building in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A pedestrian walks past a San Francisco Unified School District office building in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Sarasota County Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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One school district that chose to go "woke" backfired in the liberal-run San Francisco. Three progressive members of the San Francisco school board were recalled in February following a series of controversial decisions, including extended school closings, failed efforts to rename schools named after figures like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ties to unpopular teachers unions, and banning merit-based admissions at a high-performing high school.

"Voters in San Francisco turned out en masse to throw out a set of school board members who were more interested in imposing their will on others than on listening - and if other elected officials around the country prove to be similarly tone-deaf, then I have no doubt voters will take that into account," Parents Defending Education president and founder Nicole Neily told Fox News Digital at the time.