Letter to the editor: Running for school board for all of the wrong reasons
Published 10:11 am Wednesday, November 2, 2022
To the editor:
After reading an editorial in a local newspaper about the politics surrounding local school board races, I contacted the article’s author. The author wrote of his concern about the misconception of such terms as CRT, learning loss, mask mandates, indoctrination, and transparency. And, I might add, parental rights.
As a North Carolina public school teacher, [the author a West Forsyth High School English instructor], I couldn’t think of anyone better to share insight into the North Carolina Public School System. The article is a manifesto for those in local school board races, and anyone else interested in school board politics.
With his permission, I am sharing these points from the article.
If you are running for school board because you think that school systems handled the pandemic incorrectly with virtual learning and mask mandates, then please bring your crystal balls to each school board meeting so that we can accurately know how to handle unforeseen and unprecedented crises that have not happened yet.
If you are running for school board because you believe that SEL (social emotional learning) is not appropriate for schools, then please share your plans for getting a full-time nurse, more counselors, and more social workers in our schools in a hurry and please make sure that schools have the resources to make schools safer.
If you are running for school board because you want to stop the “indoctrination” of our students, then please come with concrete examples of what is happening, because if a teacher could truly indoctrinate students as powerfully as some of the candidates running say they can, then there would never be a late assignment, or a phone used surreptitiously in class.
If you are running for school board to make sure that the “right” curriculum is being taught, then take that up with the state board and the legislature. With the number of high stakes standardized tests that schools have to give each year and, the enormity of the standards of study being revised on a yearly basis, claiming that teachers are “teaching” their own curricula is ludicrous.
If you are running for school board because you think there needs to be more transparency in what is done in classrooms, then start looking at syllabi and online repositories that all teachers use for students. Technology and social media have not only made things accessible but have made classroom activities incredibly transparent.
If you are running for school board because you feel that the teachers’ union is running the schools, then please be reminded that North Carolina is a right-to-work, at-will state that has outlawed public employees to collectively bargain.
If you are running for school board because you want to focus more on discipline in schools, then please bring in a plan to have more assistant principals be in schools to help handle those issues and more empowerment for teachers to enforce the rules.
If you are running for school board because you think we need to strengthen the integrity of high school diplomas, then start talking about how we should not use graduation rates as the overall measure of school success.
If you are running for school board because you think you can run it like your business, then maybe you need to see how public schools really work. Maybe try running a business like a school system and see if they are compatible.
If you are running for school board because you want to give schools “back to the parents,” then remember, that “everyone” is a stakeholder in public education. It does not belong to one group. It belongs to all people, most of whom do not have a child in the school system at present.
The loudest voices do not always represent the majority of voters and what you as a candidate say on social media is read by so many more people than you think. If you want to empower teachers, it might be good to explain how you will.