Tuesday, April 17, 2007

District 214: Attempted Religious Takeover? No, Democracy in Action

From "School Board Battles in the Heartland" by Robby Moeller, posted 4/10/07, at A Voice in the Wilderness

Things have reached a boiling point for many concerned parents around the country. Enrollment in private schools, and home-schooling, are both at all-time highs. More Moderate and Conservative candidates are running for positions on school boards to help reign in the secular-progressive agenda that has run rampant for far too long. Parents are beginning to resent the blatant attempt to mold young minds in the fashion decided upon by previously unaccountable officials and administrators.

In my own district (#214 in the Chicago-land suburbs) there have been recent, heated town hall meetings and inflammatory editorials in local newspapers between the entrenched liberal positions of the overwhelmingly lopsided, left-leaning, school board, who are content with the status quo; and the new conservative candidates who wish to have their voices heard and new policies adopted.

Most have characterized this as some sort of religious coup or hijacking of the schools by religious zealots who want to suppress free speech and force teachers to read the Ten Commandments before each lesson. The concerted effort of the local Left has been to portray the proponents of needed change as crazy, extreme, and out of touch with “mainstream” constituents. The real issues (over-budget spending, declining graduation rates, and blatantly inappropriate material being taught in classes) are all but ignored; and the focus (and sole strategy) of sympathetic journalists and liberal city/county officials are vicious ad homenin (personal) attacks on the conservative candidates running for school board.

The reality is that in District 214 we are seeing Democracy in action. Just because many parents have neglected to get directly involved in the decision-making processes (that directly affect their child’s education), and Left-leaning candidates have found it easy to get elected up until now (because the public has been misinformed), the other members of the school board and their allies are now trying to “project” their own attempts at indoctrination on the benign intentions of truly dissatisfied parents who merely want things “cleaned up” in their tax-paid school systems.

This problem and conflict is not unique to my area. Debates over what should be taught, how it should be taught, how best funds should be allocated, etc., are raging all across the nation. The established educational proponents are up in arms to defend the current powers they possess, and privileges they enjoy. It is easier for most citizens to retain their collectivist outlook and assume everyone in the education system has their child’s best intentions in mind (and actually respect their own family’s values). The best way to ensure that a fairer representation exists in the decision-making processes for school policies and curriculum is to welcome debate and dialogue from those most directly affected: students and their tax-paying parents.

In District #214 we are vastly over-budget and have lower graduation rates then neighboring areas. Many parents have legitimate concerns over what books are being used in classes and have been asking tough questions (no one wants to burn or even singe any literature). There are seven total board members, and currently there is a single, lone voice that isn’t a lock-step liberal. Two new candidates have decided to run on a conservative platform of reform and accountability, and the reaction from the local press, administrators, and current board members would make one think that former followers of the Hale-Bopp Comet cult had promised to bring purple shrouds and cyanide-laced kool-aid to our schools.

Why would we see such a backlash from these groups if they were so confident that their own views were actually the mainstream, and thus incumbency would be a “sure thing” in the upcoming election? What makes so many of us so afraid to challenge entrenched bureaucracies? Let both sides get their views out (that means newspapers actually have to print what Christian Conservatives say too), and the public will choose. Socialism is where the power of the masses are in the hands of a few, largely unaccountable politically-minded officials who, like all humans, thrive on self-interest and personal security.

Sound familiar?

Read the whole commentary.

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