Confronting Bully School Boards about Common Core

Citizens have been censured, silenced, and threatened by school board members who protect a political agenda rather than serve the people who elect them. Some school board members themselves have been subjected to this abuse from their fellow board members. Citizens who stand up to these tyrants are finding public and legal support.

Education should not be politicized; but when the federal government gets involved, the issue is no longer what is best for children but who is on the winning team. Team mascots are typically donkeys and elephants.

In this environment, some school board members refuse to acknowledge responsibility for due-diligence.  School board members who have requested information about the other side of the Common Core issue have been asked to resign. Other board members refuse to hear any concerns about Common Core.

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Citizens who thought their school superintendent or board member had been a personal friend are realizing that their friend is more concerned about being on the winning political team than keeping friendships, than protecting freedoms of citizens, or than benefitting students.

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Some school board members are determined to silence the other side. When board members or citizens have found a venue other than a school board meeting to make their presentation, other school board members have contacted that venue to stop the presentation from being held there.

Fortunately, citizens have been persevering and the American public is learning about the federalization of education through implementation of Common Core, in spite of efforts to censor citizens’ freedom to communicate.

Some state educational leaders have suggested threatening parents with a call to Child Protective Services if they opt their kids out of Common Core curricula or testing. They would charge these parents with “educational neglect.”

Citizens do not have to tolerate this abuse. A friend who recently attended a training session for newly elected school board members was given The Key Work of School Boards Guidebook.  The book was written by the National School Board Association in 2009 and focuses upon the importance of modeling the behavior that board members expect from others. Board members are encouraged to “articulate values such as respect for others, civility, integrity, and inclusion.”

The book explains that the board must commit to fostering long-term collaborative relationships, inside and outside the school system. It recommends maintaining good relations with stakeholders and collaboration when people come together to create new and better ways of achieving solutions to problems. Citizens need to make certain that collaboration does not result in rejecting the views of opponents.

Therefore, parents and school board members should obtain the materials used to train their local school board members and find the areas that apply to their concern. Citizens can write to their state association of school boards and identify ways that a local school board is not meeting these requirements.

Most likely, the state board will say that they give legal advice to school boards only –not to the public. This good sign means that there is a probable legal issue. The state board will likely remind the local school board members of their legal responsibility to their constituents.

If writing to your state school board association does not provide a solution, contact an attorney who specializes in Constitutional law. Advocates for Academic Freedom works with Attorney Jeff Scott Olson who explains that the law might permit a successful suit under the First Amendment, but there is certainly no guarantee of a quick result. “Anyone who had been kept from speaking could be a prospective plaintiff.” Sometimes, a simple notification from such an attorney will solve the problem for a relatively minimal cost.

Most bullies back down and adopt more acceptable behavior once confronted. These issues are too important for citizens to remain silent or to allow their freedoms to be undermined. Citizens who refuse or neglect to spend the energy, time, or money needed to protect their freedoms can expect someone to take those freedoms from them.

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