The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Public Servants’ or Public Masters: Whom Does Your Local School Board Serve?

Posted on | June 23, 2022 | No Comments

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, is a town of about 17,000 people in Waukesha County. In the 2020 election, President Trump got nearly 60% of the vote in Waukesha County. In such a conservative community, you might expect local officials to share the sentiments of their neighbors — unless you understand how local boards of education actually operate.

Most people don’t pay attention to school board elections, but the teachers and administrators do. Employees of the school system constitute an organized special interest, who can usually succeed in electing their chosen slate of board members — and, perhaps more importantly, they can prevent the election of any school board candidate who might disrupt the system. Thus, by controlling the school board, teachers and administrators can evade any effort to make them accountable to the public. Any parent who has ever complained about the policies and curricula of public schools knows how this works. In fact, it is largely erroneous to call them “public schools,” since they do not really belong to the public, but are rather controlled by the administrative bureaucracy, operating for the benefit of the employees, without regard to what parents actually want. All of this is necessary preamble to a story (via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit and Robert Zimmerman) about a remarkable controversy emerging in Oconomowoc:

Over the past year, Alexandra Schweitzer, of Oconomowoc, Wis., raised concerns about age-inappropriate materials, both available for children to access and being used in the classroom, without proper parental notification. After enrolling her children elsewhere, Alexandra continued to be an advocate and resource for local parents regarding their concerns. As President of No Left Turn in Education – Wisconsin, Schweitzer voiced her concerns, and those of district parents, in public forums and in testimony before the Wisconsin legislature.
On May 13, attorneys for the Oconomowoc Area School District School Board issued a cease and desist letter to Schweitzer threatening legal action if she does not revoke public statements she made about classroom material and access to inappropriate material. At issue are a series of comments Schweitzer made about the availability of certain inappropriate books available to students of all ages through the school’s library app, inadequate parental notification about the use of a book in an eighth-grade classroom with controversial themes, and statements about her communications with the school district and the school board president.
OASD is threatening a defamation suit against Schweitzer if their demands are not met. . . .
The Oconomowoc Area School District hired a law firm to send a threatening letter to a parent after she spoke out about her negative experiences with the District. OASD’s behavior in this regard is indicative of bullying parents into silence. This is entirely inappropriate and sets a dangerous precedent.
WILL’s letter to OASD’s attorneys makes clear that none of the claims OASD made reach the legal standard of defamation. Ms. Schweitzer will not be revoking her statements because they are protected by the First Amendment.

The idea that a government entity can sue citizens who complain about the government’s policy is about 180-degrees opposite of democracy. And such is the nature of the “public school” establishment — controlled by bureaucrats who, by their corrupt influence over school board elections, work to prevent citizens (especially parents) from influencing the operation of a system which they are taxed to support.

People who know me know that they should never mention public education in my presence, as I can rant for hours on the subject. My rants are ultimately futile, however, as there are no words in the English language strong enough to convey how much I hate public schools. “With the heat of ten thousand suns” is perhaps the closest approximation.




 

Comments