Don’t Sleep on School Boards

While we’ve all been – justifiably – running around focused on Republican  opposition to Build Back Better and Republican opposition to protecting voting rights and Krysten Sinema’s and Joe Manchin’s intransigence on the filibuster and a million other things, the GQP has been sneakily opening a new front in our ongoing war for the soul of our country: local school boards.

The US is a bit unusual in that we guarantee free public education for all in grades K-12, and in that education is largely subject to local control. That means that school districts are governed, school administrators are hired, school policies are determined, and school budgets are set by locally elected officials, aka the local school board. School board members come from all walks of life, however, they are often people whose own kids are grown and who are later in their careers or retired, and frequently they have had some sort of formal tie to education at some point in their careers.

School board members are represented by state school board associations, which in turn are represented by the National School Boards Association, a federation of the state groups. NSBA and the state associations provide education to local school board members in what they need to know and do to be effective elected officials and advocates for children. They also provide information and guidance on local, state, and national education policy to their members and can “rally the troops” (so to speak) when legislation that affects public education is being considered.

As part of their long-term goal of wrecking public education and preventing the accurate teaching of US history particularly as it regards race and racism, Republicans, led by the “grassroots” (actually Koch-funded astroturf) organization Moms For Liberty,  are now targeting school board meetings for disruption, school board members for threats, and school board races for electing utterly unqualified ideologues. Oh – and electing Trumpers under false pretenses.

And they’re succeeding. They’ve managed to pretty much blow up NSBA for daring to suggest that highly detailed and specific death threats are not appropriate communication with your school board members and asking the DOJ to take a look. (Yes, “domestic terrorists” is strong language. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.)

What can you do?

  • Vote. In every election. Particularly low-turnout local elections where a few votes can – and often do – swing a race.
  • Educate yourself about candidates, particularly for “minor” local positions. Don’t let these folks slide in under the radar by pretending to be someone (sane, rational, reasonable, actually concerned with the welfare of children) that they’re not.
  • Support (with money, with signal boost, with volunteerism) local candidates who stand for our kids’ right to learn the full truth of our history, good and bad.
  • Push back against Republican lies about things like critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on Facebook and Nextdoor and Twitter and in letters to the editor of your local newspaper and in line at the grocery store or coffee shop and in conversations with your neighbors.
  • Run for local school board yourself.

Remember: Small local races are often a stepping stone to higher office, like city council, mayor, state legislature, CONGRESS. Stop them now, here, before this escalates.

Image source: the Washington Post

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

2 responses to “Don’t Sleep on School Boards

  1. Hi and thanks for your postings. Will share on FB. Mary

  2. That is the most mind-bogglingly convoluted system I’ve ever heard of … slightly different where I grew up. 🙂

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