The Need for Partisan School Board Elections in Utah

In fiscal year 2011 for the state of Utah’s budget, 50% of revenues will come from state income taxes and 49.7% of expenditures by the state will go toward the education system (UT Budget Report). Billions of dollars are spent on the education of our children and yet there are those in the public who shout that education is non-partisan. Nothing with that much money at stake is non-partisan. Powerful players vie for control of those dollars. Hundreds of companies provide “vital” services to our various school districts. They in turn scream for more money because of the “tremendous good” they can do with it. However, how do we know those funds are being spent wisely to get the most bang for our buck? Where is the accountability? It’s a never ending cycle where the schools ask for money and then bites the legislative hand that feeds them. We tolerate this as the public because we’ve become accustomed, or dare I say “enculturated” into believing that “good people” run our schools and so they can do no wrong. The people who run our schools may very well be “good people” but that doesn’t mean they have the education of our children as their top priority. One look at Alpine School District’s love affair with Investigations math and the removal of the times tables and long division will clearly illustrate the lack of common sense amongst “educators” and get you questioning what their real agenda is.

One solution to this problem is to have partisan school board elections. The 15 state school board members control half the budget of Utah and individually have territory which is double the size of a state senator. There is no way they can get a message out to voters to inform them of where they stand on issues. In local school districts we have similar issues. Large areas of territory are covered in some of the mega districts like Alpine, Davis, Granite, Jordan, etc… Those school board candidates are never closely examined by voters because it’s hard to get the message out to so many people on such limited funds. It’s also an advantage to the incumbent who may rely on some name recognition to carry him/her through a close race. Partisan school board elections would mean a much smaller number of delegates elected in OUR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS would examine those candidates up close and make a decision to shrink the list of candidates down to size.

I would like to hear from you about what you think are good reasons for and against partisan school board elections. I’ve put a couple lists below. Please comment on this topic below and add any items you can think of to either list. In the future I may update the list according to some of the comments. Thank you for your help.

If your comment is not related to this topic, I will remove your comment. This should remain an easy list for the public to scan down and see the pros and cons of partisan school board elections.

Reasons against (or things some will claim):

  1. Education isn’t partisan so elections shouldn’t be
  2. We’re in the most conservative state/district and now you want to control education with partisanship?
  3. Party money may influence elections
  4. Members will be more influenced by their party politics than their constituents

Responses/Reasons for:

  1. Everything involving money is partisan
  2. You think the NEA and UEA aren’t partisan?
  3. If you think schools are already conservative what are you afraid of having partisan elections? Nothing would change.
  4. The state history standards have a number of very liberal statements like calling health care a right and calling the constitution a “living document.” These are extremely liberal positions.
  5. Nobody studies the candidates for school board in elections because they are non-partisan. Making them partisan means hundreds of delegates will examine candidates closely and see who would do the best job from their party. This raises the quality of candidates making them go through a close examination within their political party.
  6. Having to sell yourself to delegates instead of to the public prior to a primary is much less expensive. This saves candidates time and money and allows more individuals to attempt to run for office without needing deep cash pockets right from the start.
  7. Control over spending large amounts of money is principle based. Partisan control helps put board members in that have a known ideology.
  8. We opted for representational government because “we the people” can’t examine every issue and vote on it with a good working knowledge of the issue. We elect delegates who volunteer to take the time to closely examine candidates and ensure they will represent us well. That’s how a republic functions.
  9. Texas did this, got a conservative majority on the state school board, and for the first time in decades created history standards that teach both sides of the story.
  10. State School Board Districts (15) are twice as big as State Senate Districts (29), and State School Board candidates never have the resources to even send one mailer to all the voters in their area. Voters who do not hear about a state school board member cannot make an informed vote. Nonpartisan elections are intended for small local races (like City Council) where you can presumably meet the candidate, and thus do not need a party affiliation.  But the 15 members of the State School Board in 2012 will likely have approximately 200,000 residents in their district!  There is no way they can meet with more than 20,000, under any circumstances.  In other words, party affiliation is absolutely necessary in any election on such a big scale.
  11. The education budget of Utah is the largest single category of expenditures. Money is always partisan. Power flocks to money. Hiding behind the non-partisan curtain does not allow constituents to know where candidates stand on any issue. Members of the state school board support democratic bills over republican bills by a 2:1 margin according to a former state school board member. This does not represent the makeup of the state electorate.
  12. Saying we don’t want political parties to influence school board elections guarantees that special interest groups will have greater say.
  13. The vetting process of running through a convention race helps weed out unqualified candidates, but does so in a grassroots fashion.
  14. Putting a party line affiliation next to a candidates name helps inform voters that may be unaware of where non-affiliated candidates stand on issues.

Case in point: These images show one candidates’ campaign material touting her as a conservative but there are many who would question her “conservative” credentials. Yet she gets away with saying this because there is no party affiliation and there are no delegates vetting the candidates. This will now start a trend of candidates quickly claiming the conservative “crown” and an unknowing public may believe whichever candidate can get that message out first. This is a disturbing trend that will only confuse and misinform voters. The delegate system works to help closely examine candidates prior to the public being bombarded with a variety of deceptive messages.

JoDee Sundberg Campaign Sign

JoDee Sundberg Campaign Sign

27 Responses to “The Need for Partisan School Board Elections in Utah”

  • Ed Barfuss:

    The “conservative” candidate above campaigned to conserve federal funding and the deteriorating status quo. She mocked parental choice and claimed support from the teacher’s union and the PTA. In 2010 the NEA lobbied congress to make full-day kindergarten mandatory (loss of parent choice), substantially increase federal funding for education (legal plunder, taking from one and giving to another), federal programs to teach schoolchildren about different sexual orientations ( moral decay), and opposed all tuition tax credits, vouchers, and parental options or choice in education. In parallel the PTA lobbied nationally and locally for “cradle to career” support for children through “Family Engagement Coordinating Councils” (parent-school compact/partnership), promoted the implementation of a “universal student identifier” and a national data system to “track attendance and performance of students prekindergarten through grade 12” (home invasion), and national control over school curriculum (loss of choice/agency). It’s time to stop the conservation of the socialist trend and return to the representative (and in this case partisan) approach to vetting candidates. Educated representatives will give us our best chance to quickly change the direction or education.

  • Ken Bowers:

    I think that under the circumstances, a partisan race for the school districts might be the best choice. But ideally, there should be no partisanship involved. The downside of this argument is that the control of our schools will eventually bring all school districts under control of one political party or the other and I’m not a big fan of the major political parties. But it may help us get out from under the thumb of the socialist NEA, at least. It’s worth a try.

  • Ken, local school community councils can be non-partisan because it’s people in your neighborhood that you know. In that instance, you should know where they stand on things. Once it gets much bigger than at the very local level, you’re voting for people across town or in a different town and having the (R) or (D) behind the name means that delegates have looked into that candidate at least a little bit and if there were more than 1, picked the one they felt was more in line with a certain philosophy. As one person mentioned to me, this helps the sheeple that just vote for their own party whether it’s an R or D or something else. I think that’s helpful for the uninformed voters to at least have a guide who may match up with their beliefs at a macro level.

  • Tom Westmoreland:

    Oak, as I mentioned on your facebook page, I believe that the non-partisan tag is a hoax. It is simply unilateral disarmament by conservative America. If a candidate does not have a party behind him/her then that candidate is going up against an army all alone. That is why liberals and unions have owned the non-partisan elections. There are no such things as non-partisan elections and there are no such things as non-partisan polls. If an independent is elected (which is as rare as hens teeth) then to whom are they accountable? So even if they are elected then the unions can still bully and deceive them.

  • Guest:

    Just a comment on the JoDee Sundberg postcard – not only was it dishonest in it’s appraisal of her opponent, it also violated clearly stated election laws, that she herself had to read and agree to when registering as a candidate. Do you see anywhere on her postcard the line “paid for by”? This was not her only publication that lacked this LEGALLY prescribed information. She said she would continue to support “values”? Apparently not the values of honesty and fair play. The election is over. She won. Let’s hope that she rethinks her “values” and includes honesty and fair play among ehm.

  • Anonymous:

    If partisan elections means that out of state money and influence will pour into school board races as it does in legislative races, I want nothing to do with them. So much for local control when out of state money and special interests are represented by candidates. Political Party control of our schools is one major step closer to centralized government control of our schools. I thought you were for local control, Oak?

  • Dougc:

    I can’t answer for Oak, but I’ll give it my own comments.

    I am very much for local control of our schools. The *only* way to accomplish local control in ASD is to split the district into about 10 pieces (or more). If you want to know my opinion about that– my belief is that a school district should be no larger than 1 single high school and all junior high schools and elementary schools that feed into it. This smaller district would have a 7 member school board that is purely local. As Oak said above, “local school community councils can be non-partisan because it’s people in your neighborhood that you know. In that instance, you should know where they stand on things.”

    But, since ASD covers so many cities, so many neighborhoods, etc. then I have very little idea of whether a particular candidate is conservative, liberal, a democrat, republican, or what? I personally meet with any candidate before voting for them, but with the humongous ASD, that is nearly impossible for everyone to do.

    My vote? Split all school districts until we have as many districts (and school boards) as we do high schools. Failing that idea, or until it becomes realistically possible: YES make school board elections partisan. It is the best way to understand elections on such a large scale.

  • Tom Westmoreland:

    Isn’t centralized government control of our schools what we have now? There is one party in control of our schools—guess which one. Hint, it isn’t the one that believes in God or an open and competitive school system.

  • Jennrc3:

    If she was truly conservative, she would have wanted to cut our taxes. There is too much wasteful spending among the school administrators and districts.

  • Anonymous:

    So you really believe that inserting national party politics into school board elections is the solution to decentralization of schools? What planet are you living on? The Republicans and the Democrats are nothing but opposite ends of the same stick. Look at this website or saveasd for that matter. They are against liberal indoctrination of students but then offer their own brand of conservative indoctrination via the age old debate of Federalism vs. Anti-Federalism.

  • Please stay on topic everyone. I do not want to fill this post with debate about individuals or what anyone thinks is my philosophy. This post is strictly to debate partisan elections.

  • Susie Schnell:

    National party politics are already in the school districts and school boards. What we’re doing is exposing that fact for parents to understand that public ed is becoming more about political social engineering than academics. By making school board elections partisan, citizens will have a better understanding of where candidates are coming from before new programs and curricula are brought into the schools and voted upon by the board. The better answer is to get rid of the huge powerful districts which spread over many cities and then bringing the power and accountability back down to the local level. As long as these districts stay so large and take much of our tax money, they should be partisan races. These districts have bigger budgets and have more power than many of our cities. They are very political. If trying to follow the inspired Constitution of our country and protecting children and families are conservative indoctrination, I am guilty as charged.

  • Anonymous:

    My post was totally on topic.

  • Anonymous:

    Conservatives and Liberals both claim to be followers of the Constitution and protectors of it. The problem is with forcing a particular political party platform down our student’s throats when many of those students come from homes that espouse a different political party. Indoctrination is indoctrination and I’m glad you have admitted to having an agenda of conservative indoctrination. I consider myself a conservative person, but I do not think it is right to teach our students be card carrying members of a political party. That smacks of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia in state, political control of schools. You may believe that citizens will have a better understanding because of partisan politics, but it opens a very dangerous door. While hoping that Republicans will be the exclusive benefactor of schools in Utah County, you are also shutting out Republicans from influencing schools in Democratic strongholds. Is this really about teaching our kids conservative values or is it about teaching kids to be Republicans so the political party can maintain an eternal monopoly on political power in Utah County? You also place the real power of school board elections into the hands of a few delegates who are often elected through the stacking of political caucus meetings that shut out those who are not registered to a specific political party. In other words, the real school board elections will be held at the state convention and the general election will simply be “going through the motions of voting.” I’m sorry, but I still believe in voting for an individual for public office, not a political party. Remember George Washington?

    I also have trouble with teaching students that our Constitution was inspired. Schools are a place for teaching facts, not feelings or religious beliefs that require faith as evidence of truthfulness. I personally believe that our Constitution was inspired, but I cannot prove it. It is just something that I personally believe in because of my religious faith. Therefore, is it right to blur the lines between actual facts and religious faith in teaching kids of different backgrounds and beliefs? Would you support an all Republican school board requiring teachers to instruct students that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God even though you have students raised in homes of varying religious beliefs?

  • Susie:

    Corruption- I never said that I wanted Republicanism to be taught or that the Constitution should be taught that it was inspired. How about just teaching the CONSTITUTION?? No, not that it is a living, breathing document that needs to be constantly changed nor that America is a greedy country that needs to redistribute all of it’s wealth to the rest of the world. But we can certainly do a better job teaching kids that we live in a Republic and that America has made some mistakes, but is a wonderful nation. No doubt there is a lot of America bashing going on from all levels. We are just asking for politics to not take a major role, but to agree that academics should be the focus and to stop having our administrators being trained at these radical conferences with Bill Ayers and the like keynoting on social justice, feminism, redistribution of wealth, etc. That’s not why parents send their kids to school. Leave politics to the adults and teach Johnny how to read and do math without indoctrinating him and leading him to question those things he was brought up to believe.

  • Corruption said: “Once an all Republican school board is in control, I fear they will create policies to indoctrinate students into the Republican party platform in the hopes that these “young Republicans” will vote Republican in future elections, maintaining a monopoly on political power and ensure job security for “career” politicians.”

    Are you seriously afraid of having a republican controlled school board? Doesn’t that imply that you are not afraid of having a democratically controlled school board or else already believe they are currently comprised of democrats?

    What I find mildly annoying is that I can express my opinions on *my* website and have people come out here and somehow think I’m trying to push my religious and political views into straight curriculum for our children. I’m not writing curriculum on this website, I’m sharing what I find to be interesting points of view. I’ve never said teachers need to tell students the constitution was divinely inspired, but on this website I write about it because that’s what *I* believe. This website is NOT school curriculum. Wow this concept is hard to get through to people.

    Corruption said: “It is bad enough we have private groups trying to indoctrinate our students, but to bring the “government in power” directly into the process is utterly terrifying. Democrat strongholds could also solidify their power by doing the same thing. School is not the place for organized party politics to monopolize.”

    I’m guessing you’re referring to me and others as a “private group trying to indoctrinate our students.” How exactly am I trying to indoctrinate students? I’m saying get our teachers away from Goodlad and the progressives. Give them a real shot at a technical future by using a solid math program. “47 states have non-partisan school board elections” and that proves what? A bad idea is still a bad idea.

    Have you looked at what partisanship did in Texas? They added a history standard for students to talk about the merits of Hillary Clinton! Oh my word. How on earth could those republicans have done that!!! :)

    The cool thing they did was increased the number of minorities being taught about, and they put both sides of the story in. So where Utah talks about McCarthyism, Texas talks about McCarthyism and then follows it up with the Venona papers which tell the rest of the story. Give students both sides and let them draw their own conclusions, but GIVE THEM BOTH SIDES.

    Who on earth wants our children to be card carrying members of a political party? Geez, I don’t know how you come up with this stuff. I’ve never written that.

    Let me ask a couple questions.

    Do you honestly believe that my desire is to see children taught my set of religious beliefs in schools? All I’m asking for is that they study the Constitution and understand the original intent of the document and that they are taught that we are a Republic. That’s a pretty simple thing. That’s how this website started.

    Do you honestly think that state school board members that control the largest single sector of spending in the state of Utah isn’t influenced by their political views? If it is, why can’t we know what their views are before voting for them?

  • Anonymous:

    Yes, I’m afraid of having any political party in control of education. Whether it is Republican, Democrat, Fascist, or Communist, but let’s be realistic, Democrats aren’t going to be in charge of schools in Utah County any time soon, and making school board elections partisan will certainly ensure that the Republican party will be in control of schools and the minds of children. I agree that the Constitution should be taught, but that doesn’t seem good enough to politicians who want the Constitution taught in a certain manner that aligns with political philosophy. That is indoctrination and I think the temptation is too great for partisan politicians to take advantage of their special “position of trust” concerning educating students. I agree that kids need to be taught both sides or multiple perspectives and to draw their own conclusions. That is the first time I have heard you say that and it is heartening but I would dare say that many of your supporters on your site or saveasd would not agree with teaching both sides or letting students draw their own conclusions.

    Where did I get the idea you want to mix religion into education? How about this website. You tend to justify your ideology with religious dogma. I’m just connecting the dots the same as you do.

    I can’t answer your question about the State School Board because I thought this was a discussion about local school boards. State government is not local government and the state school board hardly qualifies as local. The state school board of education should be abolished just as the Federal Dept. of Education should be abolished. The state school board election process is a sham anyway and is not even a “republic” ideal for an election. In fact, they operate more like Iranian elections where a slate of like-minded candidates are chosen by the government in power for the voters to choose from. The voters might as well stay home since all candidates are merely clones of each other. Governor Herbert has even expressed his distaste for selecting state school board members, yet it seems no bills or constitutional amendments are proposed for rectifying such an anti-democratic and anti-American style republic process.

    As far as the Texas standards?…well, they leave a lot to be desired. While I did not like the previous standards, the new Texas standards seems to dumb down the thinking aspect of history. It seems more focused on just basic facts rather than the “so what” in history. The standard on McCarthyism is a good example. The new standards don’t guide students whatsoever to the lessons learned from McCarthyism but instead seems to be more focused on justifying McCarthyism and using the Venona report to do so. By the way, have you read the Venona report? I have no problem with teaching the Venona report to students. They show the extent of Communist infiltration in many aspects of American life and government up through the 1980’s, but they still don’t make up for the fact that McCarthy falsely accused dozens of Americans including three U.S. Presidents and a skeptical national reporter of being Communist sympathizers/party members (which is not illegal in the U.S.) or of being Communist agents. I was in college when the Venona report was released and my professor said that they were not a vindication of McCarthy because very few of the names in the Venona report match McCarthy’s lists. They prove that McCarthy was correct that there was a large Communist infiltration of American government but they do not support McCarthy’s methods of catching them which were proven to be overwhelmingly inaccurate and politically driven. That is the discussion that students need to have about McCarthyism. Is it okay for our federal government to rashly accuse dozens of innocent people and ruin their reputations and careers in order to catch a few enemies of the state? The same can be said with interning the Japanese during WWII which also has a similar theme of suspending liberties of many to find a few. That is an example of why students are in history classes, not to learn random, disconnected facts, with no historical context or discussion. That is what the Texas standards are missing.

  • Anonymous:

    If a student was brought up to believe things that are true, then questioning shouldn’t be harmful but an affirmation of those things he/she was brought up with. I think those who are afraid of questions tend to have something to hide. School children in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia and even in Communist China are taught not to question, especially in the realm of politics or history. There was too much to hide and questions could reveal the truth. Is this what we want for American school children as well? I understand your desire to protect and defend what you believe to be true, but in an effort to do so, we could become the very thing we despise. There really is no such thing as a liberal government. There are liberal movements but once a liberal regime takes power, they become conservative in order to keep and maintain their power. The very nature of conservatism is to avoid change. Once Hitler gained power, the Socialist movement was over and those who wanted to continue it were executed (Ernst Rohm). The same goes for the Soviet Union. The Communist revolution was officially over in Russia as soon as Lenin gained power. The government then went into conservative mode to solidify that power. Schools are often the first place co-opted to preach the politics of those in power. This history repeats over and over again in history from all sides of the political spectrum. I’m sorry, but anytime someone suggests that party politics should be firmly entrenched in schools, I cringe. This is where history tends to repeat itself all too often.

  • Jared:

    “Leave politics to the adults and teach Johnny how to read and do math without indoctrinating him and leading him to question those things he was brought up to believe.” There are a couple things in this statement I disagree with. First, I WANT my kids engaged in politics; I don’t want to “leave politics to the adults.” That’s certainly a dangerous mentality, in my opinion. Second, and for the sake of consistency, do you believe we shouldn’t let our kids listen to MSNBC, CNN, or anyone else who might “question those things he was brought up to believe”? To be consistent that should be what you think. I’m curious to see if you are consistent or not. Apparently you think a 18.5-year-old high school senior is not capable of having “those things he was brough up to believe” questioned. What about 6 months later when he’s on a mission; are you suddenly fine at that time with him hearing ideas (for the first time under your ideal conditions) that question his worldview? This is a serious question; I really want to know when you believe your kids should finally be allowed to hear an idea contrary to what you’ve taught them. You can’t keep your kids in a box forever.

  • Wait, if you’re saying democrats aren’t going to be in charge of schools in Utah county any time soon, than who is? I would assume you believe it is the republicans, right? So partisan elections aren’t going to change much except make it cheaper for candidates to be able to get to the ballot because they only have to convince perhaps 400 people to vote for them instead of 20,000 (who elected the 400 to make the best choice).

    CE, I do want children taught both sides of the story. That’s why I’m impressed with the Texas history standards. That’s why I’ve read the constitution and the communist and humanist manifestos with my children so they can see the difference. However, if you believe that a teacher in a school should teach both of those sides and not provide the arguments from the Framers of the constitution which inspire the heart to freedom, then we do part ways.

    I do justify *my* ideology with my religious beliefs. My belief system colors my world. I blog about my thoughts in case they might find a welcome place in someone else’s heart and mind. That has never meant I want to turn these things into curriculum for students where it pertains to religious beliefs. I am obviously LDS, but there are others here that are not. I’ve engaged in nice conversations offline with others not of my faith who still appreciate the perspective. That’s all it is.

    Wow on your State school board comment. I would agree with you except that our state constitution specifically sets up a state school board which is to oversee the general education within the state, so in that regard the state school board is constitutional, the federal DOE is not. You and I are in complete agreement that the process of electing state board members is broken which is why I think that much power and control over money needs people looking closely at the candidates, which means delegates chosen by “we the people” seems like the best plan to take in my view.

    On Texas standards, I do like them because they are fact based and clearly outline the things we are going to talk about. That doesn’t mean we whitewash anything, it means we tell that story even if it’s ugly. When you end by saying the Texas standards are missing this component of discussion, it’s also missing from Utah’s standards. I agree with your examples for the discussion, but from my recollection there were about 186 names or something that were identified and another 100-150 that couldn’t be. Again, I think it’s a very valuable discussion to have and I don’t believe that by putting the Venona papers into the discussion it lessens anything, it just helps talk about the other side of the story instead of just tearing down McCarthy as if there was nothing at all going on. I don’t think there’s a high schooler in Utah that’s ever heard of the Venona papers (and neither had I till just a year or so ago). On the whole, I think the Texas standards are quite admirable and something we can definitely learn from.

  • Susie:

    You can disagree with me Corruption, and that is fine. I appreciate the civil discourse of ideas without name calling or personal attacks but I disagree with too many of your points to spend my time taking each of them on. You do realize you picked the wrong person to convince about Soviet Union tactics. My own mother barely escaped Stalinist Ukraine, taught me what to watch out for in this country and is still alive to tell me how proud she is that I am fighting the very thing that she escaped. Anyone knowing the true bondage of these people under tyranical government or those in Germany, Austria and surrounding areas under Hitler’s regime can testify that it is the absence of religion and freedom which causes all of these oppressive governements to be so cruel. I believe it will take much more than one post from me to convince you of the things which I believe are true and important to America’s future. Perhaps we learned our history from two very different sources and that is why we have so many different interpretations of history and current events.

    You believe “party politics should [not]be firmly entrenched in schools”. We can definitely agree there and I hope you continue to fight with us for the best academic programs instead of the pushing of politics in education. The fact remains that Progressive Education with it’s politics have been entrenched in American public schools for decades starting with Horace Mann, John Dewey and other Progressive Educators. Though they might have endorsed some good teaching theories such as hands-on learning (which is present in all good theory), they state clearly that the purpose of education is to create a humanistic culture devoid of right and wrong which gradually leads this greedy capitalist society to one of socialism and global governance. The next generation of Deweyen educators such as John Goodlad and Bill Ayers have followed that same path, changed a few words and added social justice and other movements to their purpose of education. It’s right in their own books if people take the time to do the research. Even Googling these things will be helpful to quickly know about education theory and history for those who don’t have the time to research as much as we have. Because of these very different interpretations of the purpose of schooling, we have stated from the start that we’d like to rid the district of teaching partisan politics along with breaking the connection with the humanist and socialist educrat elitists who have brought this into our local district. I’m glad you agree that the number one reason for schooling is academics. This seems to make the most sense to me too, especially if we don’t agree on political philosophies, but ASD will not agree with keeping neutral on politics because their top leaders believe that is the reason for public schooling.

    Progressives brought in this very political environment which permeates modern public schools. One way to know who will represent the side of traditional classical education is to have partisan elections since the differences mainly fall on party lines. If nothing else, it will give citizens more information about a candidate such as if they believe in heavy taxation, etc. since so much of our taxes are taken by these huge and powerful school districts. If school boards were made up of mostly conservative candidates in a conservative area, there shouldn’t be a big controversy. However, we find that the Progressive liberals flock to education where they have the most power over the new generation.

  • Susie:

    Anyone who knows me knows that my children certainly don’t live in a box. I am the first one to teach them about sex education, abortion, socialism, drugs, global climate change, and all of the touchy subjects. I definitely teach both sides. Public schools cannot teach both sides equally because they cannot teach religion and sometimes don’t even teach traditional values because Progressive Education has taken the lead over traditional classical education. I want my kids engaged in politics too. Do you really think they are not in a household like mine??!! I studied Civics in my senior year of high school and absolutely think it’s imperative. But my Catholic school didn’t push the partisan politics like they do in ASD. You have me all wrong if you think I don’t believe in teaching all aspects of a true “liberal” education. I’m with you….engage your kids in the learning environment and teach them as much as you can while they are young so they can think on their own. My problem is that the discussion is oft times one-sided because parents don’t discuss these things, don’t know what their children are learning in school enough to have thoughtful discussions, and children many times believe that their teachers know all the right answers and never bring it up at home. I’m very grateful for teachers and the different qualities and experiences they bring to our children, but I’m asking them to be very careful of infringing on parents’ values and deeply held beliefs. This is where our district has crossed the line when they think that their duty is to enculturate my children into a social and political democracy instead of giving them the best academic education they can for success in life.

  • Jared:

    “Anyone who knows me knows that my children certainly don’t live in a box.”

    You homeschool your kids, right? Aside from homeschooling one’s kids, there’s not much more a parent can do to shelter their kids. If you’re so secure in the things you teach your kids, what are you so afraid they will learn in school? Please answer this question.

    In my home we sit around the dinner table and discuss sports, politics, and religion. It’s practically a family tradition now to watch and discuss the O’Reilly Factor each night. We go to church each week as a family. We have Family Home Evening every Monday night. As a result of all these things, I have no fears whatsoever of anything my kids might hear in school. Even if their social studies teachers are flaming liberals (which, as I’ve explained in previous posts, is not really something I’ve ever observed in any ASD classrooms I’ve ever sat in), I don’t care because I WANT my kids to learn good ways to defend their positions and beliefs. I had a socials study teacher in high school who played devil’s advocate all the time with my conservative beliefs, and I truly am grateful for it because it caused me to research and develop good reasons for believing the things I do. (And no, this teacher was not a socialist. He’s actually a conservative. Not that that matters to me, but I know it matters to many who comment on this website.).

    One more thing. If you realize that your child is receiving a deficiency in his or her education, don’t withdraw them from school. Instead, do what I have to do with math: spend 15, 20 minutes a night teaching them. Buy them flashcards. Teach them until they understand. Homeschooling your kids because of a deficiency in one area of study is an extreme resolution to a “problem.”

  • Susie:

    Ahhh, Jared, you are assuming why I homeschool and you will get nowhere with that. Home schoolers have multiple reasons which fit their family situations. You assume that I didn’t supplement at home. Wrong. Some assume I didn’t help in the classroom. Wrong. You are assuming I only home school because of a deficiency in one area. Very wrong. You assume I live in fear. Obviously I have blown the lid off of that argument by the way I conduct myself honestly and forthrightly in public and in private. Obviously my daughter picked up the same traits when she bravely corrected her teacher that we live in a Republic (or a Democratic Republic) when he argued with her in front of an entire class that America is a Democracy. I cannot argue with a set of bad assumptions nor do I want to even try. The beauty of Utah law is that it is my right to direct my children’s education (unless bad legislators ever take that right away). I home school to be proactive, not for defensive reasons. The fact is, my children learn a heck of a lot more, are happier, and much more social with all age groups. Plus they get hands-on learning, learn from original sources and out of the best books instead of watered-down, politically correct, boring textbooks. The sad fact is that these national educators (and obviously you) believe that kids are in danger somehow if they are enrolled in charters, private schools or home schools. The other sad fact is that no matter where we enroll our children, only public education gets our tax dollars and we all have to pay for a system which has been broken for a long time and under the management of a bunch of socialistic 60’s rejects.

  • Susie:

    So let me get this straight…we all have different ideas about schooling which is our right and protected under law. I choose the way I educate my own children and pay for it out of my own pocket. But in addition, I have to pay for YOUR children’s public education too. What if the tables were turned and I FORCED you to put your kids in my home school and made you pay for it? Or if you chose not to do this because you disagreed with my beliefs or pedagogy, you still have to pay for other’s children to go there. Just a thought…..

  • Jared:

    “Ahhh, Jared, you are assuming why I homeschool and you will get nowhere with that.”

    I’m only “assuming” what I’ve heard you say, which is that last year you took your daughter out of her public school because you were unhappy with something her teacher said to the class. I don’t know how many kids you have or how many you’ve homeschooled. I only know what I heard you once say about this one particular child. Perhaps you could refresh my memory of the details of why you pulled her out of school rather than 1) teach her the “correct” principle and send her back to school, 2) ask to have her moved to a different class, or 3) ask to have her transferred to a different school. Maybe you did request a different teacher, but I don’t remember that being part of the story, so correct me if I’m wrong.

    “You assume that I didn’t supplement at home. Wrong.”

    I don’t know if “wrong” is directed at me or at your own statement. I never assumed you don’t supplement at home. Actually, I assumed you do! So I guess the “wrong” was directed at your own false assumption.

    “You are assuming I only home school because of a deficiency in one area. Very wrong.”

    No, actually, I assume you home school because you have a problem with pretty much everything most (or all) teachers do and say. Am I right or wrong?

    “You assume I live in fear. Obviously I have blown the lid off of that argument by the way I conduct myself honestly and forthrightly in public and in private.”

    First of all, you haven’t “obviously” accomplished what you claim. It’s not obvious to me. Second, I really don’t know what the reason is that you homeschool your kids. It might be because you’re afraid of what your child is learning or not learning in school, in which case you do homeschool out of fear. Or you might do it because you believe all teachers are stupid and you’re so much smarter than they are. Or maybe it’s because you’re trying to impress your friends and neighbors by being supermom. Or maybe you do it because you want to control everything your kids hear. I really don’t know the reason, but I do know based off your story of withdrawing your daughter from school that it might have something to do with being afraid of what she’s hearing. Who knows.

    “Obviously my daughter picked up the same traits when she bravely corrected her teacher that we live in a Republic (or a Democratic Republic) when he argued with her in front of an entire class that America is a Democracy.”

    First of all, America is both a Republic and a Democracy. I’ll only focus on the issue of whether we’re a democracy. Whether you like it or not, the dictionary defines democracy as “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” That’s exactly what we are in America; we’re a democracy. Are we a democracy under the definition used by the Founders? No, but as you and I both know, the meaning of words often change over time. Justice Scalia, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin have all used the word “democracy” to describe our system of government. Are they also social humanists looking to take over public education?

    “I cannot argue with a set of bad assumptions nor do I want to even try.”

    Then don’t ever argue with yourself!

    “The beauty of Utah law is that it is my right to direct my children’s education (unless bad legislators ever take that right away). I home school to be proactive, not for defensive reasons. The fact is, my children learn a heck of a lot more, are happier, and much more social with all age groups. Plus they get hands-on learning, learn from original sources and out of the best books instead of watered-down, politically correct, boring textbooks.”

    I’ve never questioned whether you have a “right” to homeschool your kids. But I will use my First Amendment right to question some of the things you’ve alleged. And I certainly hope your children don’t turn out like the socially awkward kids I grew up with who were homeschooled. Which brings me to my next point: Are you honestly alleging that your oldest kid is better off socially (whatever that means) because they hang out with your younger kids all day? Maybe that’s not what you’re saying, so please clarify.

    “The sad fact is that these national educators (and obviously you) believe that kids are in danger somehow if they are enrolled in charters, private schools or home schools.”

    There you again with the “set of bad assumptions.” I think charter schools and private schools are great educational options. Rarely do I believe homeschooling is the best option, but you certainly have the right to do it.

    “The other sad fact is that no matter where we enroll our children, only public education gets our tax dollars and we all have to pay for a system which has been broken for a long time and under the management of a bunch of socialistic 60’s rejects.”

    Well you can thank those who fought against vouchers for that. I want parents to be able to shop around and take vouchers to different public schools, private schools, or charter schools. (Personally, I send my kids to public school because I want them to grow up among “common people” and not think they’re somehow better or more special than others because they go to a special school. However, I believe vouchers are a good thing because they create competition, and I would use them if things ever got really bad in public schools.) I do NOT, however, want parents taking their kid’s voucher and pocketing the money so they can “home school” their kids. Not every parent who homeschools is nearly as diligent as teaching their kids as you say you are, Susie.

    “So let me get this straight…we all have different ideas about schooling which is our right and protected under law.”

    Not really. We pretty much agree that you do have the right to homeschool as long as you are actually teaching them. I never said anything to the contrary. You obviously don’t read my posts closely enough. This is another reason why I think you personally should homeschool your kids; they probably would learn better reading comprehension and reasoning skills.

    “I choose the way I educate my own children and pay for it out of my own pocket. But in addition, I have to pay for YOUR children’s public education too.”

    It’s called a social contract. Read John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. Also, I don’t want all the poor kids in society running around not in school and not receiving an education. That’s why we have public education and tax everyone in the state to pay for it. I have no problem with that. I come from a VERY poor family. My parents rented while I grew up. Things were pretty bad. Were it not for public education, who knows where I’d be today. I would have received no education at all. Thank goodness society agrees with me, and not you, when it comes to the question of whether we should have public K-12 education.

    “What if the tables were turned and I FORCED you to put your kids in my home school and made you pay for it? Or if you chose not to do this because you disagreed with my beliefs or pedagogy, you still have to pay for other’s children to go there.”

    What if we did what you’re advocating and did away with all taxes that benefit society? (As I explained above, public K-12 education provides an important and necessary benefit to society. I’m living proof, as are my siblings and kids.) We could get rid of the military, the police protection, roads, etc. We could privatize all those things. Maybe I would buy all the roads surrounding your house. I could pay my own private enforcers to make sure you never accessed those roads without first paying me an outrageous amount of money. If you drove or even walked on my road without permission, my private enforcers might shoot you or throw you into prison for trespassing on my property. Not a very pretty scenario, is it? Your libertarian-anarchist views are not the answer, and there’s a reason they’ve been rejected by society.


    Is there someone who thinks education is NOT POLITICAL? IF that were true, why does the Utah State Office of Ed have a daily presence during the Legislative session. ALMOST ALL the lobbyists regarding education are being paid by our tax dollars to get more of our tax dollars. They spend the entire legislative session attending all the education committees and are lobbying the legislators on a daily basis.
    There is a 3rd party. It is the education elites, also known as the UEA. They have made education political by promoting their political agenda, both in and out of the classroom, through curriculum, now through testing and in the legislature and in the school boards. If those who claim want to make education a non-political issue, they should stop lobbying and taking the political process into the education arena. Education IS political!