America is at war, but not in the traditional sense. And while there are the traditional battles overseas, political battles in Congress and in state legislatures across the country, arguably the most important and consequential battles are taking place right now at the local school board level.
Ask any adult to name people who influenced their lives when they were younger, and nearly every answer will include a teacher.
And it’s true.
Teachers have always had a significant influence in shaping a child’s worldview and perspective. And to this day, teachers hold a special place in our hearts.
But ask anyone to name a local school board member in addition to their favorite teachers, and you’ll be met with silence — because school board members have always played a behind-the-scenes role representing the interests of local school children.
School boards set goals and priorities, determine policies and budgets and work directly with administrators and their leadership teams. And teachers implement and are the representatives of that agenda in the classroom.
But since the pandemic, millions of parents across the country realized that sometimes those agendas don’t include what’s best for their children — and the policies being implemented are causing more harm than good.
In total, 48 states recommended school closures during the pandemic, affecting over 50 million public school students. And the results have been catastrophic.
Not only were parents demonized for demanding that their local schools reopen, they were silenced and labeled as “domestic terrorists” by the Biden administration for sticking up for their children at school board meetings across the country.
A term that is beyond offensive — it’s repulsive.
And as it turns out, the parents were right. They were always right.
In a paper published in 2022 on the consequences of remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic, the research concluded that the shift away from classroom instruction during the pandemic, “had profound consequences for student achievement.”
A Ohio State University study published in 2022 had the same findings — remote learning and virtual instruction had devastating effects on children.
Once again, proving the parents were right, and many of these school boards were wrong.
In Chicago, test scores dropped significantly during the pandemic, and children have fallen so far behind in reading, writing and arithmetic — they are past the point of no return, unless drastic measures are taken immediately.
The Chicago Teachers Union were successful in their lobbying efforts to keep the schools closed during the pandemic, and the end result continues to prove catastrophic. And if there was ever a case for educational malpractice, this would be it.
But beyond the catastrophic consequences related to hybrid and remote learning, the sexual education curriculum that teaches young children about gender identity, hormone blockers — subjects completely inappropriate for children, is also making its way into the classroom.
It’s not OK to read what’s in the curriculum live on air as a Chicago radio show host because it violates federal communications policies, but it’s perfectly OK to teach it to young children?
This logic is not only flawed — it’s wrong. If you can’t read this on radio airwaves, then why are you teaching this to children?
Teaching children about critical race theory has also found its way into the classroom — a divisive concept that teaches about race superiority and that the United States is fundamentally a racist country, among other things.
It is stoking the flames of racism, and dividing young children at such a young, impressionable age.
But while these battles wage at the local level, where is the Republican National Committee (RNC) or state Republican organizations on this issue? They are completely silent.
During a Republican Party of Illinois State Central Committee meeting in December, upcoming school board races were not even included on the agenda, despite the election being just months away.
And on the RNC website or organizations like the IL GOP website, you won’t find any space or resources dedicated to parents.
Thank goodness for national groups like Moms for Liberty and local organizations like Awake Illinois for stepping up and being a resource for both parents and school board candidates alike.
If only national or statewide Republican organizations had the same mindset as North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley, who said, “We see every single office as being particularly important. You know, we can't just say that the county races, the county school boards, the town councils and the mayors aren't as important as a top of the state. When you are looking at the impact on North Carolina families, the local impact is the biggest impact that you’re going to have.”
And he’s right — the local impact is the biggest. And it’s why there’s nothing more important than the upcoming school board races.
Too much is at stake — including our children’s future.
Mark Vargas currently hosts a radio show, "Mark My Words with Mark Vargas" on AM 560 The Answer. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. Read Mark Vargas' Reports — Click Here Now.
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