There is no doubt that the years 2020-2022 will be the most memorable of our lifetime. We fought for kids to be in their actual classrooms, for teachers to teach in person, for kids to breath fresh air, and for their civil rights to be recognized and respected. This has left parents wondering which way is up and what planet they are living on. No other time has local elections been so important, as these local elected officials and their decisions directly affected our homes.
I remember sitting at our kitchen table early in the pandemic teaching two boys their school lessons, on my lunch break and working from our back yard shed converted office, and no less than 3 hours later sitting down to eat at that same table we all just lost our minds over. Trying to have a peaceful meal was almost impossible. There was no asking about our days… I saw every painful minute of it. There was no “what did you learn today?” I, not so patiently, tried to teach it to them. Our family’s happiness was determined by 5 people who sat on the Lakeside Union School Board! You would think that being in a commonly known conservative area that our school board elected officials would represent the community. This was not the case! A two-year battle with these 5 people gave some of us our voice and silenced those who felt their voice did not matter. The clear path to getting what we wanted was to use the ballot box. We begged, pleaded, yelled and cried for the right thing to happen for our children… we were met with one no after another; basic human and medical rights cast aside; the school board had spoken. But for who?
Despite the awful charge from our Board of Supervisors President, Nathan Fletcher, not all parents are idiots! We took to research, and we figured out very quickly how to navigate through two years of uncertainty, misinformation, constitutional rights violations, the list is endless. But we strapped on our hip boots and waded through a lot of ______ (I can only think of an explicative word here so I will leave you to your imagination). At every turn there were challenges. Parent advocacy groups started popping up all over social media. It was exhausting! Parents are good at spinning their wheels, and as we became accustomed to one bad news story after another. Most groups found their niche’ and took to their platforms, producing leaders, socialmedialites, the mean girls, the nerds, the jocks and the bible thumpers (probably not a politically correct term but that is what they were called back in my day), etc… One important group that has come from this “movement” are the parents who never before had political aspirations but knew that if they allowed the status quo to continue the old adage about insanity would be the sad case. If we wanted the insanity to stop, we needed to stop doing the same things that caused the insanity to perpetuate… in local politics that is your school board elections!
Droves of parents entered, for the first time ever, the political scene and are making a huge impact. This November will prove or disprove a lot of theories about local elections. The old way of knocking on every door, raising thousands of un-seen dollars to get your face and name on a flyer, endorsement driven, popularity contest versus the angry, outspoken, domestic terrorist parent, who will hold no punches in their 2-minute speech to the board.
Logically following, the quandary we have been battling for the past two years, one would think that incumbents of any school board would be the least favored candidate on the ballot. However, the GOP and local elected officials with a platform have dug their heels in the dirt and halted their endorsements to new candidates. This perplexes a lot of people. Why endorse the status quo? Why perpetuate the insanity that was and is the local school board? There are some that advocate for the overwhelming majority but their numbers are few and their efforts are far between. Sadly, if you are on a losing team… that doesn’t make you a winner! This harsh rhetoric is the consensus of a lot of voters. Which begs the serious question, why do our elected officials and political committee members only stick to the old, drab, asleep school board trustees? Why do they endorse catering to the teachers unions, and those who vote against parents and most abhorrently the ones who use the kids they are elected to represent as political chips to be played? We often wonder if American voters are really that asleep. Are these endorsers shooting themselves in the foot? Should brand new candidates even seek endorsements from these people? Should the old school money driven way usurp the commonsense candidates?
I personally was running for the school board in my district. I was unpopular with the current board members but was backed up by hundreds of voting parents who wanted change. My path to winning and directive from leaders was to follow the direction of a current board member, and to get ready to rake in the dough for the GOP. Does that serve a purpose? I’m sure on a small scale it does serve a purpose. But a local school board candidate expected to campaign upwards of $100,000 is a tall order! Let us not deceive ourselves with the policy of bipartisanship in school board elections, it is obvious who is who and what is what by the votes they cast. Local political parties use one of the largest and most benevolent groups of people, the teachers unions. Their bias is clearly shown by the amount of money they spend on grooming, promoting, and endorsing these local school board candidates. This should be kosher in a major city that lean towards the left, but to an obvious faction of people in a town with a rodeo and who boast a local high school FFA extracurricular, should not be easily swayed.. yet it is. Our children, despite the science and common sense, stayed masked for two years! This insanity spilled on the shoulders of our kids forcing them to become advocates for themselves and refuse to take part in an exercise they deemed ridiculous. I do not advocate for students to take on this burden. That is the job of parents… and get this… THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD! Why would anyone want to keep in place those people who never are seen in public or at local events, who get elected and ride the wave sometimes lasting for decades and who time and time again placate the teachers’ unions and collect their grant money?
I can only speak for myself, but the weight of each parent and of each child weighed heavily on me. I often said that if someone is a more probable candidate, with a platform aligned with those who stood beside me at every board meeting, please let me hand the reigns over. My motives were not about prestige or notoriety. As a concerned parent, and who’s common sense does play a part in my everyday decisions, I deemed it necessary to at least try. Any parent running for the school board, that I know of, have these same qualities. What committee of any party would not endorse the un status quo, who’s heart is clearly in it for the rights reasons? Who would not uplift a parent or new candidate with qualifications that are far superior to those currently seated? There are many conclusions you can draw from these questions… but the only way to affect change, even in this area (party vs. party), is your awareness and possible candidacy.
We have heard it said by almost every newbie on the scene (guilty as charged), “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, if for good men to do nothing.” There is a more localized (east county) saying of that phrase, “quit bi+c&i#g if you aren’t going to do anything about it!” Whatever saying suites you best… the point is to implore your local elected’s to endorse common sense, same side of the isle, green candidates, instead of the status quo, who have given children the short end of the stick at every turn and to take a stab at running for your local school board! Your family’s literal happiness depends on these individuals! It’s time we either put our money where our mouth is… or accept the changes that are in the works for this State. The latter is unacceptable!