Opinion: Why Parents On Both Sides Should Stop Speaking At School Board Meetings

By Dewey Finn | 4 months ago

parents school board

When world events sent kids into virtual school, it was a wakeup call for parents around the United States. With their kids on the other side of the room getting instruction from their computer, for most of them it was the first time they’d ever gotten to actually hear any of what and how their kids were being taught in class. Many parents were not pleased, not pleased at all. This new knowledge of what schools were actually doing resulted in American parents being split into two camps: Those in favor of masks and teaching racial ideology in school and (according to polling) a much larger group of parents against it. Both sides took to their local school boards to make their case, and at first that seemed like a good idea. Now it’s not.

Parents on both sides should stop attending school board meetings.

The Case For Anti-CRT And Anti-Mask Parents To Avoid School Board Meetings

Parents opposed to putting masks on kids and teaching ideologies like equity and anti-racism (something these opponents lump into what they’re calling Critical Race Theory) should stop simply because it isn’t working. If you’re trying to actually change how schools do business, recent efforts have proven the way to do it isn’t by showing up at your local school board and telling them how you feel. The truth is that they simply don’t care.

There’ve been dozens if not hundreds of instances where large groups of parents have shown up at school board meetings and begged, cajoled, argued, and in some cases shouted and pleaded for the school board to do something different. In almost no instance has that resulted in any change. Even in the most extreme of circumstances, school boards have proven that aren’t interested in the voices of parents who oppose their views. They’re going to keep right on doing what they’re doing anyway.

One of the most extreme examples of this happened in Loudon County, Virginia where parents discovered their children were secretly being taught controversial racial and gender ideology. Even more extreme, they soon also discovered that the school was secretly covering up the rape of students in their gender-neutral bathrooms and allowing the rapists to continue attending school.

Parents showed up at numerous school board meetings and asked the school board to stop. The school board ignored their opinions and changed the rules to make things harder for them to speak out. Then Scott Smith, father of a girl who was raped (twice) in Loudon County schools, appeared and tried to share his outrage. They had him arrested and accused him of being violent (video evidence doesn’t seem to support that claim). The media picked up the story and omitted the part where his daughter was raped and then that rape was covered up by the school. That father went on to face criminal charges. The rapist was allowed to attend class at another school.

Here’s the video of what happened to Scott Smith…

At no point did the Loudon County school board even consider changing course. Instead, they doubled down and went full steam ahead. Meanwhile, the parents who tried to change things were smeared as violent terrorists and arrested. They accomplished, basically, nothing.

What did finally change things was voting, not parents speaking at school board meetings. In 2021 parents of Virginia united around a gubernatorial candidate who promised to ban the practices parents opposed statewide. He was elected in a shocking victory and mere moments after his inauguration signed executive orders banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools and banning the forced masking of kids.

Here’s another example of the ineffectiveness of school board grandstanding. In South Lake, Texas thousands of local parents got together to try and change the school board. They showed up night after night speaking, asking them to stop teaching racial ideology in schools, demanding it. The school board ignored them. Eventually through a combination of using their voice and through procedural and legal efforts, they forced one of the school board members to resign. Parents united and overwhelmingly voted in a candidate who more closely shared their views.

Sounds like a win for those parents, right? Wrong.

That happened in November. Many of those same parents who spent over a year battling to change things are now moving out of Southlake, looking for schools which share their ideology. Nothing has changed in Southlake and here’s why: School Boards don’t really control the schools. Teachers do.

Maybe you do, by some miracle, manage to change your school board or take over your school board. That doesn’t change the teachers. Teachers overwhelmingly support liberal policies, even in deep red states. Most teachers subscribe to Critical Race Theory ideology and many have dedicated to spending their entire lives spreading that philosophy. They simply aren’t going to stop teaching it, no matter what sort of directives come down from the school board.

In the meantime, school boards have worked with the Federal Government to label parents who disagree with School Boards as domestic terrorists. Though there’s scant evidence of it, the National School Board Association sent the Biden administration claiming parents who disagree with them are violent. The Federal government agreed and has labeled dissenting parents as domestic terrorists. Now showing up at a local school board and speaking out could get you arrested, as happened to a mother of four in Colorado.

Additionally, the media coverage of parents speaking against school boards has now also resulted in a new Democrat strategy of removing the right of parents to have any say in the education of children at all. They’re not just doubling down on the thing you’re trying to stop, they’re tripling down. Some have even gone so far as to say parents shouldn’t be allowed to raise their kids and should hand them over to the government.

So showing up at school boards is pretty unlikely to change anything, it actually might make things worse, and even if you do change out the school board you won’t change the teachers. Meanwhile, simply being there creates fuel for the media to smear the efforts of parents, risking reprisal from the federal government and arrest for the participants. Perhaps most importantly of all, these school board shenanigans distract parents from doing things which might actually help accomplish their goals.

Why Parents Who Want Their Kids Masked And Educated In Race Should Skip School Board Meetings

For the most part, parents who want things like masking and equity education in schools don’t need to show up at school board meetings because nearly every school board, outside of a few very deep Republican counties in a few deeply red states, is already doing what they want. Your local school board is likely already totally on your side and they don’t need any more input.

What if a bunch of loud parents show up demanding a school district stop masking kids, or start pushing them to stop teaching Critical Race Theory? Recent history has proven that, no matter how much the overwhelming pressure, school boards aren’t going to listen. They don’t care what parents have to say about anything. They don’t actually need your help at all, and may not even want it.

Should you show up at a school board meeting to face off against parents who want CRT kicked out of schools, you’ll likely just end up in some sort of shouting match. That only makes you, and your entire agenda, look bad. And even if you win your shouting match, you’ve accomplished nothing because the school board was always going to do whatever you want anyway.

Even if by some miracle anti-CRT parents managed to influence the school board, nearly every teacher and absolutely every teachers union is 100% on your side. They’ve proven they won’t follow directives to stop teaching CRT and should anyone try to open school without masking kids, there’s a good chance the teachers will simply refuse to show up to work. They’ve got this covered and you showing up at school board meetings to cause contention doesn’t do much to improve their position, in fact it might only weaken it.

So what should parents who want their children taught about race and protected from COVID-19 do? Of course, voting is incredibly important. Pushing political candidates who share your views will likely yield some results. In many cases though, even that won’t matter as local school boards have shown a propensity to defy government law in order to stick with their ideology, as in Texas where numerous districts continue teaching Critical Race Theory despite a statewide ban.

The real power in any school is your local teachers union. They’re the ones actually running things and they’re already on your side. Consider volunteering with them or donating to them. If they start a protest march, grab a sign and get out there with them. You’ll accomplish more that way and you won’t have to sit in a sweaty meeting hall with a bunch of people who hate everything you stand for.

What Parents Should Do Instead

What should parents be doing then? Voting may help, as in Virginia where the newly elected governor has outlawed the ideas parents don’t want taught to their children. Has parents in favor of CRT and masking put in more effort and gotten out the vote instead of focusing on school board meetings, they might have stopped it. Parents who wanted change did get out the vote, and they’re getitng what they want.

But even in Virginia, just because it’s outlawed doesn’t mean the teachers won’t teach it. If parents really want a say in the system, the best way to change it is to vote with your feet. If you don’t like what’s going on at your local school, pull your kids out of it. Find alternative teaching methods. With a system this diametrically opposed to everything you want, the only real way to fix it is to tear it down.

What are the alternatives to public school? If you can afford it, in many areas you can find private schools which will teach the things you want taught. Not everyone can afford private education, but before you write it off, look into it. Private schools are often cheaper than you think. In some areas you can get a private education for your child for as little as $4,000 a year. Better still, an increasing number of states are enacting school choice laws, which would enable parents of all types to take the money the government pays public schools for their child, and move it to a private school.

If you can’t afford private school, there’s always homeschool. Not only is homeschool free, the data shows it’s probably the best way to educate your kid. Homeschool kids test 30-40% higher on pretty much every kind of test in every subject than either public or private school educated kids.