In some school systems such as mine, all seats for the school board are up for grabs in this next election. Possibly nine new members could be leading the school system come next calendar year. The field for the WSFCS school board elections is 28 strong.
And the mudslinging and gaslighting that has occurred so far has attracted national attention. From the front page of today’s Winston-Salem Journal about a candidate forum held at a school last night:
If you really looked at the platforms of many of the candidates in this particular race (and I am sure in many other places), most of their reasons for running stem from a lack of satisfaction in how the pandemic was handled in our schools. They yell about learning loss and mental health issues that arose supposedly from masking and closing down school buildings as if those decisions were not made with the best possible information that science and medicine gave us at the time and before a vaccine was available that has worked remarkably well.
And while many people may be “done” with COVID-19, it is not done with us.
Some candidates are running on a refusal that the pandemic forced a group of leaders in an unprecedented time to make decisions when none of the choices were convenient.
Some candidates are not willing to address the mental health stressors that were already in society that were not caused by masks and closed buildings but were exacerbated by the pandemic.
Some candidates are screaming about indoctrination in our schools yet cannot point to one verified example in which there is institutional indoctrination except when using slippery slopes, all or nothing claims, and other logical fallacies.
Some candidates want to talk about learning loss as if it was caused solely by our response to COVID. Yet those same people will not talk about what stipulations and mandates the state has put on our public schools that take away from actual instructional time.
Some candidates claim they can fix problems that really involve the state and not the local system.
And many of those candidates have not offered one tangible solution within their cacophony of rhetoric that is plausible. They’ve spent all of their time and energy pointing fingers and making unfounded claims.
Those candidates also have the least amount of knowledge (it appears) of how a school system actually works, who is responsible for what actions, and how schools operate. And they sure as hell have not talked about what they would do about a teacher shortage that is going to do nothing but get worse throughout the summer months.
There are two candidates who possess more experience with public schools than a vast majority of the candidates combined, and they have not built their platforms on righteous and reactionary anger but on what they know can be done and can be advocated for. They know how schools work.
And they are not spending their time shouting at others, but looking for solutions to problems that we have never faced before.
That’s why I am voting for Stan Elrod and Richard Watts.
Even if they belong to different political parties.