2021 Election, Columnists, Education, Mike Rosen, National

Rosen: Parents revolt against progressive control of school boards

During a debate in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, a pivotal moment between Democrat Terry McCaullife and Republican Glenn Youngkin turned on a gaffe by McAuliffe who asserted, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”  A state that has been solidly blue instantly flipped red, sweeping Youngkin and a slate of Republicans into office.

Progressive elitists condescendingly believe they know better than parents about what and how their kids should be taught.  They’re wrong.  When parents vote in a school board election, it’s all about how they want their kids to be taught.  And elected board members have a duty to be faithful to the policies they ran on that attracted a majority of the vote.  It’s called representative democracy.  Between elections, parents are also entitled to voice their support or opposition at public meetings.

It’s no wonder parents are (figuratively) up in arms about the woeful state of public school education in this country.  Rigorous, basic academics have taken a back seat to politics and social engineering.  Student achievement is well below grade level in reading and math for far too many kids, especially minorities.  Too many public schools are indoctrinating students in progressive ideology and radical culture.  This is to the delight of progressives who favor that agenda, but to the disgust of parents with a conservative or centrist perspective.

We’re seeing the backlash from frustrated parents in school board meetings across the country.  Some of which have been contentious with angry parents shouting down board members.  At a public school in Louden County, Virginia a 15-year-old girl was raped in a bathroom by a “gender-fluid” boy in a skirt presenting himself as a girl (a consequence of the school’s transgender policy).  At the school board meeting, the girl’s father was there to hold the board accountable and was angered when a board supporter in the audience yelled out that his daughter was lying about the assault.  The father was physically subdued, arrested and dragged out by security guards.

Public outrage at meetings is understandable but will only harden the resistance of school boards loyal to the teacher unions and committed to their self-interest and political agenda.   In recent years, a conservative majority was miraculously elected to school boards in Douglas and Jefferson counties in Colorado.  The unions marshaled their forces, enlisted progressive parents to disrupt school board meetings and the liberal media cheered them on.  In short order, the unions and the progressives were back in power.

So, it’s OK for progressives to act up at school board meetings but not conservatives.  The National Association of School Boards (NASB) wrote a letter to President Biden absurdly claiming parent protests at school board meetings “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” using the father of the girl who was raped as an example.  (Domestic terrorists don’t protest, they blow people up.) In response, Attorney General Merrick Garland — who’s shown no interest in prosecuting BLM rioters and looters — ordered the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to investigate parents speaking up at school board meetings.  When queried about this in his Congressional testimony on October 21, Garland produced no evidence of violence against school boards members.  It seems the only real threat is to their reelection.

The NASB’s sole priority is the interests of school boards, not parents or students.  Just as the primary concern of teachers unions is the welfare of teachers.  The unions work and spend heavily to elect Democrat legislators, governors and school boards to do their bidding.  To overturn the status quo, voters need to elect candidates who favor school choice, private-school vouchers, rigorous academics, diversity of thought, and who oppose social engineering and indoctrination.  Reject any candidate endorsed by the teacher unions.

Tellingly, parents aren’t dissatisfied with private school education, and therein lies the ultimate solution.  Let’s break the monopoly on the delivery of publicly-funded education in government schools where unions have an iron grip.  Just as the private sector is the heart of our economy with competition providing ample choices, productivity, innovation and excellence; private schools are the remedy for bad public schools.  School vouchers would take taxpayer dollars dedicated to educating students and redirect them to parents, allowing them to select the school that best fits their values and their kids’ needs.  One size doesn’t fit all.  Some parents will prefer public schools of leftist indoctrination.  Others want to break that mold.  So everyone’s happy, right?  No, progressives are only “pro-choice” when it comes to abortion.  On everything else, they want to bend the rest of us to their will.

Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.

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