Although this is an “off-year election” – without presidential and congressional candidates – there are still plenty of important issues on the ballot November 7, with school board elections being one of the most important.
That number represents more than one-third of school district seats in 9,000 school districts across 35 states, Ballotpedia adds, explaining that “69% of the nation’s 13,500 public school districts” have school board races on the ballot tomorrow.
It’s difficult to overstate how important these elections are, as the results affect around 50 million students in government-run schools.
Public schools became a big part of the national conversation after states began closing them in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing parents across the country to become more directly involved in their children’s education.
As a result, parents and concerned citizens uncovered radical sexual and racial ideologies taught in many government-run schools. Many parents were appalled to learn how their children were being indoctrinated, sexualized, and confused by curriculums, library books and classroom resources.
These problems didn’t start with the pandemic school closures – they’ve been building for decades, but they were more widely exposed.
Voters should be concerned, too, because school boards govern huge amounts of money, but public schools often have poor educational outcomes. The Education Data Initiative reports, “Federal, state, and local governments provide $810.0 billion or $16,390 per pupil to fund K-12 public education” (their emphasis).
Even mainstream news outlets are growing concerned with the return on investment for that enormous expenditure. As Fortune reported earlier this year:
American students are in trouble. About a third of students in the youngest grades are behind on reading. Only 36% of fourth graders are proficient at grade-level math.
The newest National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) – the nation’s report card – shows eighth-graders’ history scores are the lowest on record since the assessment began in 1994. And what’s more, every single state experienced teacher shortages in at least one subject in 2022.
This, despite the fact that school funding increased 13% from 2010 to 2020 “in constant 2021-2022 dollars,” while public school enrollment grew by only 3%.
Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, explains that despite that increase, tax-payer money is not necessarily going toward student instruction. He explains in Imprimis, the monthly speech digest from the college:
If you want to see the problem with American education, look at a chart illustrating the comparative growth in the number of students, teachers, and district administrators in our public schools in the period between 2000 and 2019.
The number of district administrators grew by a whopping 87.6 percent during these years, far outstripping the growth in the number of students (7.6 percent) and teachers (8.7 percent).
The growth in administration occurs in both conservative and liberal states, Dr. Arnn explains, and “the result has been to remove authority and money away from the schools where the students learn.”
“In every state, the authority and money drained from the schools have flowed toward the bureaucracy, he adds.
Dr. Arnn also comments on important issues in government-run education:
But we do have children being turned against their country by being indoctrinated to look on its past – of which all parents, of course, are in some way a part – as a shameful time of irredeemable injustice. We also increasingly have children being encouraged to speak of their sexual proclivities at an age when they can hardly think of them.
I have said and written many times that the political contest between parents and people who make an independent living, on the one hand, and the administrative state and all its mighty forces on the other, is the key political contest of our time. Today that seems truer than ever. The lines are clearly formed.
Local school board elections are one area where concerned citizens can prevail against what Dr. Arnn calls “the prevailing administrative system.” School boards determine the educational curriculum and the direction of our schools.
The Daily Citizen encourages Christians to be informed about school board elections and to vote according to their biblical values on November 7.
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