Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC), a liberal group, included the Florida-based education group Moms For Liberty to be put in the same category with racist and hate groups like the Klu Klux Klan and Nazi sympathizers.

The SPLC released its annual “Year In Hate and Extremism” report and labeled Moms for Liberty with “anti-government extremist groups.”

According to SPLC, Moms for Liberty can be “spotted at school board meetings across the country wearing shirts and carrying signs that declare, ‘We do NOT CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT.” SPLC also insisted Moms for Liberty want to “unify, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”

During the pandemic, Moms for Liberty opposed mask mandates and school lockdowns and vaccine mandates for young children. The group also opposes the teaching of critical race theory, supports banning books at school libraries, including pornographic material for young elementary students and opposed the teaching of gender identity for kindergarten kids through 3rd grade.

Teachers unions have also joined the SPLC in bashing Moms for Liberty for opposing letting transgender student-athletes play on the sports teams that match their gender identity and for championing school voucher programs.

But the accusations from the SPLC and teachers union against Moms for Liberty are underwhelming, especially those about the group being too extreme.

Is it extreme for parents to have a say in their child’s education when school districts–such as in Duval and Broward Counties–want to teach gender identity without parents knowing about it? Is it extreme for parents to question topics in the curriculum that could promote a cultural agenda instead of just teaching the fundamentals?

Is it extreme that parents don’t want biological boys to transition and compete in girls’ sports where they have an advantage?

Was it extreme to oppose the teachers unions and school lockdowns during the pandemic when education experts said it would put learning back for months?

When did parents become extremists for showing up to school board meetings to oppose certain books that dealt with sexual matters in graphic language?

When did it become extreme for parents and education groups to support school choice because of the failure of public schools?

These are valid questions as the left continues with over-the-top rhetoric against groups like Moms for Liberty. Back in 2021, the National School Boards Association compared parents protesting over school closures during the pandemic to domestic terrorism.

Of course, the more the SPLC and other left-leaning entities paint groups like Moms for Liberty as extremists, the better it is for fundraising.

The number of hate groups listed by the SPLC increased during the Trump years. In 2019, the New Yorker reported that the SPLC’s donations increased dramatically during the Trump presidency, going from raising $50 million in 2016 to $132 million a year late.

The article also pointed to SPLC’s constant fundraising pushes.

“If you’re outraged about the path President Trump is taking, I urge you to join us in the fight against the mainstreaming of hate,” one fundraising plea from the SPLC insisted. “Please join our fight today with a gift of $25, $35, or $100 to help us.”

The New Yorker reported that a former SPLC staffer came forward, claiming that the SPLC uses its “hate group” accusation as part of a fundraising scheme to “bilk” donors.

The New Yorker also reported the SPLC had an endowment of more than $529 million in 2019.

Other media outlets have also looked at SPLC. Over at Reason, Robby Soave also noted that SPLC had a long-documented goal of raising money by inspiring concern about rising levels of hate.

In Florida, at least, Moms for Liberty’s agenda has garnered a great deal of support from voters, undermining some of the attacks on the left-leaning groups. The vast majority–75 percent–of school board candidates in last year’s elections across Florida endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and championing Moms for Liberty’s view won at the ballot box.

For years, before Moms for Liberty came on the scene, parents complained about increasing local governmental intrusion into children’s education. Since the Obama years, parents complained about their children being introduced to gender identity issues

School choice has also been a major issue for conservatives long before Moms for Liberty came on the scene. In the 1990s, parents at school board meetings argued that school programs and curriculums downplayed math, science, English and basic education to focus more on cultural issues that would be better suited to being handled at home.

Moms for Liberty emerged at the right time as a voice for parents who feel their children’s needs and education are not being addressed. There’s nothing extreme or hateful about that.

Ed Dean wrote this column. He can be reached at [email protected]