As a recent employee of one of our local school districts, I have taken an interest in the school board races. They always seem to bring out so many exceptional people. They also bring out so many of the wrong people.
What I am seeing more than anything now is races for school board trustee becoming partisan. School board trustees shouldn’t be partisan. We shouldn’t know — or care — the political affiliation and ideology of the candidates. We really should only know one thing about these candidates: that they are committed to making our local public schools unparalleled cathedrals of learning and advancement for the students of this area.
That’s not what we’re getting with this new crop of candidates. Certainly not all of them.
Instead, we’re getting a slate of eight clearly partisan candidates who are campaigning together under the banner of “parents’ rights,” claiming that they are the potential trustees to “bring back your FULL rights as parents in our schools.”
As someone who worked in a district, with school board members and teachers and administrators and classified employees, I can tell you firsthand that parents have NEVER lost their rights. They are encouraged to get involved in the classroom, in the boardroom and in every aspect of their child’s education. The only folks saying that parents have lost rights are those who are more concerned with their tax money going to public schools and their loss of voice over things like masks and school closures for a pandemic.
Those are partisan issues. And these are the things that should be brought before school boards to discussed, not stoked by partisan school boards as a reason to be elected. And certainly not the rallying cry for eight candidates who are clearly “one-trick ponies.” I don’t have a problem with birds of a feather flocking together. I DO have a problem with candidates making school board positions partisan…and making them further partisan by presenting slates of candidates.
Folks, if a candidate says anything other than, “I’m here for the kids and to make schools better for them,” then you should be wary. School boards have one job: preserve, protect and defend public education and public educators. If your candidates are talking about school choice and re-allocation of public funds, they aren’t there for public education.
We all have our political leanings and we all have our preferences for ideology, but can’t we at least agree that those leanings and ideology need to go out the window for education?