School Board elections sign of voter discontent

Throughout our North Central Washington Region school board elections are nearly all contested races.  This is not unique, but it is unique for our region.
Across the country there appears to be growing dissatisfaction with our educational system.
In Louden County Virginia over 300 people showed up to a school board meeting; 259 of those signed up to speak, but after 51 criticized the Board. The School Superintendent ended the public comment period and declared the meeting an unlawful assembly. Sheriff’s Deputies were called in and people were arrested. The school board then moved into executive session.
It is not the only place in the country where citizens are becoming concerned about their local schools. Across the country previously quiet, sleepy school board meetings are being overwhelmed by parents concerned about programs on sex education, race, and gender identity.
Citizens are launching recall initiatives against School Board members who are not responsive to their concerns.
Perhaps, Morgan Ortagus of Outnumbered said it best, “School Boards and Teachers need to understand they do not raise children. Parents raise Children.”
Chief among the issues firing up debate is a program called, “Critical Race Theory.” A program that teaches young students that white people are oppressors and people of color are victims. In other words, your skin color, not the content of your character, establishes your position on the scale of racial tolerance.
Another program that is drawing the ire of parents across the country is Sex Education Programs that teach children as young as six about sexuality including self-pleasure and gender identity issues.
The problem is that many of these programs are being driven by national politics that are not necessarily consistent with local community standards.
The other problem with education policy is the influence of teacher’s unions. In California families are increasingly upset with the efforts of the teacher’s unions to keep the schools closed down while demanding higher pay and benefits and political policies that have little to do with their representation of teachers.
Examples include,
    •    Helping students deal with the trauma they’ve faced from the pandemic by hiring 1,800 new psychologists, counselors, psychiatric social workers and others;
    •    Hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes;
    •    Free health care for teachers

Washington state is also increasing regulation of school curriculum. All of this would be fine if our students were excelling, but our students rank 30th in the world for math skills and 19th in science.
So, parents are losing faith in the ability of our public schools to provide our children with a relevant education.
An increasing number of parents are beginning to question how we can get true competition for public schools. The answer is simple – vouchers. Give parents the power to decide where the money the government collects for educating our children goes. In other words, if schools are paying $6,000 per student for education, the parents get a voucher for $6,000 to give to the school of their choice. This includes private or parochial schools. It is not a new idea but one that is opposed by teachers’ unions, public school administrators and elected representatives.
They argue that it is a violation of the separation of church and state guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That is a false argument. First, the separation clause is meant to protect churches not the government. More importantly, giving the voucher to parents gives them the economic power to influence curriculum.
It is time to reduce the power of teachers’ unions and school administrators and put the power back into the hands of parents.

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