Bit-by-bit, control of America’s public schools is returning to America’s parents.
Leftist organizations have had their tentacles firmly grasped in every aspect of K-12 education imaginable for decades. In most states, Democrats have successfully fought off education freedom legislation that would permit tax dollars to follow the student.
Extremist school boards across the nation continue to push radical ideologies onto children without parental permission, but it isn’t just the school boards and the Democratic Party who are behind this indoctrination. Well-funded professional associations have heavily influenced what happens in classrooms across the nation for many years.
The American Association of School Administrators (AASA), formerly an arm of the National Education Association (NEA), is one of the most significant organizations leading the charge on leftist narratives in schools. The AASA trains and produces superintendents and other school administrators who implement their ideology into classrooms.
The AASA stated that “we are living at a time of obscene inequities and merely trying to compensate is not enough…equity must go further and become actively anti-racist,” seeming to align with the “anti-racist” Marxist views of Ibram Kendi who argues that the only way to combat racism is through present and future racism.
The AASA boasts that its membership represents over 10,000 school districts, approximately 80 percent of all districts nationwide—so chances are good that your school superintendent is an AASA member. The organization is well funded by taxpayers through membership dues and large contributions from the Gates, Wallace, and Kellogg Foundations, so it is no surprise that there is a leftist agenda at play.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is also an organization that has roots embedded in public schools and has been closely aligned with the AASA. Fortunately, the NSBA’s radical agenda was exposed when it was uncovered that they sent a letter to President Biden asking for him to investigate parents as possible domestic terrorists.
Thankfully, after the letter was published many NSBA state subsidiaries cut ties with the national organization and prompted fears at the AASA of similar losses which could damage their own efforts. AASA executive director Dan Domenech stated, “Membership loss in the National School Boards Association could end up undermining the ability of AASA to effectively advocate for public education at the federal level.”
The tight bond between the school board and superintendent’s associations became fractured and this weakness that has been exposed has been noticed by outside conservative groups.
Conservative Organizations are Springing Up
The stranglehold that Democrats have held on school boards is diminishing. In 2022, seven school districts in Florida, including Miami-Dade (the largest district in the state), flipped from a liberal to conservative majority thanks to backing from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other groups including the 1776 PAC and Moms for Liberty.
Flipping school boards is a great start, but more tentacles must be cut from the liberal stranglehold. Fortunately, organizations are popping up across the nation to provide an alternative to the NSBA.
One such group in Virginia is the School Board Member Alliance (SBMA), whose board I’m privileged to serve on. SBMA provides training, policy development, legal resources, networking and more for school board members and focuses on improving student development and liberty-minded ideals.
Another like-minded organization is the Kansas School Board Resource Center, which advocates for prioritizing the needs of students and parents over the institutional desires of the education system. The Ohio School Board Constitutional Coalition similarly wants to advance an academics-first agenda and highlights fiscally sound and transparent policies—how refreshing!
Putting Students First
In the past, the NSBA had a monopoly on professional associations for school board members. No longer—thanks to these groups and others which have stepped in to counter the leftist narrative that government should control children rather than their parents. God willing, these organizations will be able to receive the funding necessary to counter the Gates, Kellogg, and Wallace Foundations influence that’s controlled leadership in our schools for far too long.
The Association of American Educators (AAE) is an alternative to the teacher’s union (NEA) and the AASA. Unlike the NEA, the AAE does not take policy positions on issues outside of education and they do not engage in collective bargaining. Unlike the NEA, the AAE also does not get involved in partisan politics by telling their membership who they must choose at the ballot box. A step in the right direction in getting politics out of the classroom.
The tide is turning in the fight for control of public education. Not only are voters selecting conservative school board members at the ballot box, but teachers, administrators, and school board members now realize that they have alternatives to woke organizations like the AASA, NSBA, and NEA.
These new conservative groups must join forces on common issues to combat the one-sided liberal narrative that has ruined K-12 public education. Perhaps this is the beginning of releasing the leftist tentacles from the grip that they have had on public education for far too long.
Victoria Manning is the vice president of Students First VA and an elected member of the Virginia Beach School Board