COMMENTARY BY: JOY PULLMANN | JANUARY 26, 2022
For almost as long as Covid-19’s been around, parent anger at local school boards over this or that issue has been a reoccurring major news story. We’ve all seen the viral social media videos and Facebook posts of parents skewering their local elected school boards over critical race theory, unscientific and abusive mask mandates, maddening repeat quarantines of healthy children, and other educational corruption that wrecks children’s ability to learn.
We’ve also seen those viral videos have little effect on what the school board or state board of education subsequently decides. So parents have filed lawsuits and are mounting primary and general election challenges, all of which are great and a healthy part of self-government.
What these strategies don’t do is provide immediate relief to children, whom parents claim are being abused, taught racism, and denied their right to an education. They require children to continue to be abused at least until the next election cycle or until three or five or more years when lawsuits finally reach the highest court that will hear them. That’s a third of a child’s education years.
These strategies also are predicated on the assumption that the people who have created these outrageously irrational and abusive school climates should continue to be trusted to run schools. The entire leadership teams of most schools, school districts, and state education bureaucracies have disqualified themselves from leading any children at all by the kinds of abuses parents charge, but just filing a lawsuit or kicking a few school board members out of office will still leave almost all corrupt educators controlling millions of kids in perpetuity.
If you can’t trust a principal or superintendent to keep teachers from teaching racism and to accurately assess children’s needs and vulnerabilities through Covid even though the data on that is plentiful and clear, how can you trust any other of such persons’ judgment calls?
More than being restrained by a lucky court order merely from putting toddlers in masks, a person whose judgment is so corrupt shouldn’t be making any decisions about children. A person who puts a toddler in a mask, or allows teachers to shame children based on their skin color, cannot be trusted to do just about anything else important and needs to find a new and more productive line of work. Errors this bad are completely disqualifying, and they will not be rectified by merely changing a few surface policies such as the quarantining of healthy kids.
The fact that parents keep their children in schools they charge are teaching racism or delaying crucial development with Covid irrationality gives the schools all they need to keep ignoring the parents. Parents are saying one thing while doing another. They are voting with their feet, and their feet are voting for what they themselves acknowledge is oppression.
So it’s no surprise that school boards, principals, and other entities disregard what the parents say. What the parents say has no, or no immediate, enforcement. And therefore it really isn’t credible. No wonder the school districts don’t take them seriously.
If the parents wanted to be truly effective — as well as truly honest — they would pull their children from schools en masse until problems of such serious magnitude were resolved favorably. Sickouts and mass protests are highly effective forms of warfare on children waged by teachers unions all the time. But parents so far haven’t responded in kind.
Why is that? Why are parents all bark and no bite with their school complaints? Possibly they don’t know how to be effective. And possibly, many aren’t willing to make the big sacrifices required to enforce their beliefs. They can see that something very serious is wrong, but they aren’t willing or able to fix it. They’re still waiting on others to fix things for them.
They, and their children, will wait a very long time for that. They will certainly wait long past Covidtide. And that’s why public schools are as bad as they are — the people who are supposed to hold them accountable refuse to do exactly that even while claiming to.
In the end, schools and parents are basically fighting over something underneath all these disputes that almost nobody mentions: money. Schools get public education money, not parents. It gives them the power to abuse children while parents complain yet keep putting that mask on their kindergartener every single day, even after he throws up in it at school or it prevents him from being able to read or speak properly.
School boards don’t care about complaints. They care about money. As long as they have it, and parents don’t take it, schools will continue to do whatever they want to children. And American children will continue to be unhappy, uneducated, and unprepared for life while everyone pretends it’s someone else’s fault.
It’s clear that American parents have a codependent relationship with the schools they claim to despise. They are in fact enabling the very abuse they complain about. So while it is entirely legitimate to go yell at school boards and vote bad people out of office, it’s also time for parents to engage in some critical thinking about their own choices that enable this situation. As long as public schools continue to get money no matter what they do, this situation will continue, no matter how many uncomfortable meetings and lawsuits parents instigate.
If state legislatures do not yank money from America’s abusive public school systems, parents must yank their kids. Trust, me, it will work. It might already be happening.