In an encouraging sign that citizens are starting to take more interest in their schools, Education Week reports (subscription?) that local Tea Parties are starting to get involved in local school board races.
This marks an important change in the conduct of school board races, which in the past have often been dominated by teachers’ unions and their money.
Here in Kentucky, for example, a recent Bluegrass Institute open records request for ‘Independent Expenditures’ on behalf of political candidates uncovered evidence of the Jefferson County Teachers Association and its political action group providing individual school board candidates with campaign support over $100,000. It is virtually impossible for independent school board candidates to match such financial competition.
Absent involvement of a strong, motivated group like the Tea Party, teachers’ union dollars generally give the unions a free hand in controlling the races and, ultimately, the operation of local school systems. That leads to excessively teacher friendly but child hostile contracts and other programs such as Jefferson County’s disastrous busing for integration program.
Now, as EdWeek reports, citizens are waking up to reality – a huge proportion of their tax dollars go to our under-performing education system, so if citizens want to get some relief from the incessant expansion of taxes, the schools are one of the first places to look.