The fallout from the letter sent by the president of the National School Board Association to President Biden, asking the Justice Department to investigate parents who threaten school board members, is still swirling more than two months after the letter became public.
Over half of state school board organizations have either protested the letter or withdrawn their support from the national organization. According to NRO, “27 state school-board groups have openly dissented from the NSBA’s letter and 17 of those have discontinued membership with the headquarters.”
Incredibly, Attorney General Merrick Garland concurred with the NSBA letter and sicced the FBI on parents in his memo dated Oct. 4:
In response to the White House letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo authorizing the deployment of the FBI and federal law enforcement to probe and potentially prosecute parents found guilty of threatening school administrators. The letter provoked the outrage of many state school-board associations that felt the messaging was a gross mischaracterization of parents concerned about their children’s education. Many groups also rejected the NSBA’s intervention as an overstepping into local school affairs.
Internal communications obtained by PDE show many state-level chapter officials upset by the NSBA’s actions, with some suggesting that this kind of overreach had long been a pattern of the national organization. The majority of chapters revealed that the NSBA did not inform or consult them before it sent the letter to President Biden requesting federal involvement in school board confrontations.
While it’s heartening that so many state school boards have pushed back against the national organization’s stormtrooper tactics, what about the other 22 school boards? Where do they stand in this fight?
27 state school boards associations have distanced themselves from the National School Boards Association.
17 of those states (purple) have discontinued membership, participation, and/or dues because of the NSBA's actions. pic.twitter.com/YfyGwNKCpA
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) December 3, 2021
Mr. DeAngelis believes the state school board organizations should be doing more.
“If you’re a state that still hasn’t distanced yourself, even after the [NSBA] has distanced themselves from their own letter, that doesn’t look very good for your state,” he said. “[T]he only meaningful pushback is actually pulling your dues or severing ties formally when it comes to membership or participation with the national organization.”
He added that parents have become a special interest group in K-12 education recent months whereas before, “the only special interest groups that had any real sway were teachers unions and superintendents.”
Parents and other activists shouldn’t expect the teacher’s unions and school board bullies to disappear, of course. The reaction has already begun, as some school boards have closed meetings or severely limited comments.
But DeAngelis thinks the “sleeping giant” has awakened and the tide is turning toward parental control.
“Teachers’ unions have finally overplayed their hand to a point where they’ve awakened a sleeping giant — these parents who want more say in their kids’ education,” he said. “And I’m especially optimistic because parents care about their kids more than anybody esle, and they’re going to be the special interest group in K-12 education from here on out.”
Parents have lives to lead — their own and their family’s. They aren’t paid for their activism. They don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to the battle. Teacher’s unions, on the other hand, have full-time lobbyists to fight for them. But it’s been heartening to see so many parents across the country stand up and be counted when it comes to the education of their children.