By Sheri Edwards
I addressed the Board of Trustees at the Alvin ISD Board meeting last night. Here are the comments that I made:
Good evening. I understand that this board will vote on the anti-voucher resolution tonight. Before you vote, I urge you to remember the purpose of a school board. You are elected by the taxpayers to represent their interests and that of the students. You were not elected to represent the interests of the TASB (Texas Association of School Boards), which appears to me to be a lobbying organization on behalf of school boards and the regional education service centers. The service centers have pushed the anti-Christian/pro-Islamic Marxist/Communist Cscope curriculum into almost 80% of the Texas school districts.
As a democratically elected body intended to represent the interests of the community on public education issues, the local school board is a symbol of local control of public education. By providing an accessible forum for discussion of education issues that affect local communities, school boards maintain a key component of their viability. Founded on the belief that citizens should play a dominant role in determining how children in a community are educated, local school boards have been described as a historic linchpin of American educational governance. In a diverse society with a multiplicity of cultures, the board has become the body in which all constituencies find expression, a role seen as crucial to sustaining participatory and representative government.
Why would a school board choose to be coerced by TASB to adopt an anti-voucher resolution? TASB is a non-profit organization pushing their own agenda on the 1000+ school districts in Texas. They are not elected, but instead act as lobbyists for the school boards, not in the best interest of the students, parents or taxpayers. If you choose to be coerced by TASB on school vouchers, what else are you allowing them to “guide” you to do?
While I have been assured that CScope was not purchased by Alvin ISD, there are other curriculums that carry portions of Obama’s Core Curriculum and parts of that curriculum have made it to nearly every school in the nation. It is imperative as parents, grandparents and taxpayers that we understand that our schools are not teaching our children how to think and reason for themselves, but instead are teaching them what to think. And this brings up the question, as representatives of this community, are you as trustees thinking for yourselves or are you blindly following a lobbyist group and perhaps even this school administration? The administration are employees of the community via the board, not the other way around.
The beauty of a free market is that competition generally improves a product. Competition can improve the quality of a product and an education. If the public school system is not meeting the needs of a child, parents should be free to seek a better quality education for their children, without having to pay twice. When I see a school board rushing to pass an anti-voucher resolution, I have to wonder what frightens them about school choice? Do you believe that AISD’s curriculum, policies and teaching content are not up to par? Are you afraid of the competition? If so, why not raise your standards above the minimal-skills test that most schools are teaching to? If you want to have the best and brightest students, be the school district that nurtures excellence, gives students the tools to think and reason for themselves and promotes the best possible education. After all, schools are in the business of educating our youth, not indoctrination or providing a babysitting service. I believe with all the programs and curriculums available, school districts have lost their focus. Their focus is not to be the fifth largest employer in the United States collectively; their focus must be on a solid education. I believe that school vouchers will increase competition among schools and school districts, which will improve the education provided in all Texas schools.
Please show faith in our school district, and vote “no” on the anti-voucher resolution. A “yes” vote will mean, to me, that you don’t believe our district can compete with other schools and that you have been a poor leader as a trustee.
Two others spoke agreeing with Board President, Tiffany Wennerstrom, who had requested that the anti-voucher resolution be placed on the agenda. After hearing the other two individuals speak, Ms. Wennerstrom appeared confident that she had the support of the taxpayers.
However, when Item 15 came up for a vote, Superintendent Dr. Fred Brent interrupted Ms. Wennerstrom and asked for the withdrawal of the resolution as there is no pending legislation in the Texas House. President Wennerstrom appeared very surprised, but made the motion to withdraw the resolution, it was seconded, and passed 7-0.
This, I believe, proves the point that Dennis Edwards made last night when he spoke to the Board during the Open Forum: ”I see before me a majority of this Board that follows the directions of its employees, the Administration. This Board’s majority votes as directed by this Administration, as to what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how they need to do it. This is not how it was intended to be, this is not representative government. It is a corruption, a usurpation of our representation.”
As a side note, on May 11, 2013 two positions, Positions 4 and 5, will be on the ballot. Ms. Wennerstrom currently holds Position 4 and the office of President of the Board of Trustees. If you want your elected officials to question what is put before them by the Administration, and not blindly follow the requests of the Administration, the employees, and the TASB, a lobbying organization, I urge you to make it to the polls on May 11, and replace Ms. Wennerstrom on the Board of Trustees.
This article is my opinion, and does not necessarily represent Pearland TEA Party.