Divorce California-Style: Following “parents are terrorists” campaign, Cal school boards group says it’s going directly to Washington, DC
The organization behind some of California’s most out-there education initiatives announced it’s splitting from the national group that helped it promote the “parents are terrorists” campaign.
In a low-profile statement, the California School Boards Association says its leadership approved the divorce from the National School Boards Association on March 26. In the press release, the state group said, “CSBA has been steadily increasing its presence in D.C. to compensate for the growing ineffectiveness of NSBA and allow for more robust and more direct advocacy on federal matters.”
Long-simmering tensions between the two organizations seemed to ease when CSBA and NSBA simultaneously published demands that state and federal leaders intervene immediately to target as terrorists parents of public school students. Parents had turned out for school board meetings, frustrated by school closures and by radical curriculum and student services in public schools. School board officials in some places brought gasoline to the fire, offering hot takes on parent involvement in schools.
Parent frustration turned to anger when U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he would deploy the FBI in local school districts. Much of that frustration was vented on school district officials, and prompted other state associations to dump NSBA membership. By December, 17 states had left the national group – reducing the revenue it uses to lobby in Washington.
“Honestly, that just made our decision easier,” said Troy Flint, CSBA’s chief information officer. As members left the national organization, “it was clear NSBA wasn’t going to adequately represent our interests.”
CSBA represents local school board officials who are often elected with support from the California Teachers Association and its teacher union locals throughout the state. Once in public office, those school board members return the favor – using taxpayer dollars to pay millions in membership fees to CSBA and approving greater union authority in matters of pay and curriculum.
In just one case, CSBA produced a report claiming that the best way to attract teachers is to provide them with state-subsidized housing. The report failed to consider how government union demands are key drivers in California’s cost of living, including taxes and the cost of housing.
Within weeks, CSBA president Susan Heredia said her group will carry out “our first Coast2Coast lobbying trip, scheduled for late April, where school trustees, superintendents and other education leaders will travel to the nation’s capital to advocate for California-specific legislative priorities.”
“What happens in California doesn’t stay in California,” said Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center. “Not content with destroying public education in California, the teachers unions and their allies at the school boards association clearly mean to impose their nuttiness on school districts across America.”
Updated on April 4 to include quote from CSBA’s Troy Flint.