Public school officials consistently say they don’t have enough funds, but each year they donate $ 3.5 million in public funds to one of the state’s largest political lobbying operations. The Washington State School Board Directors Association (WSSDA) is using money raised from local education budgets to lobby state lawmakers and influential local officials across the state.
In its political activity, WSSDA often works against the educational interests of parents and students. For example, the organization’s national chapter, the National School Boards Association, recently asked the FBI to investigate parents speaking out in public meetings under national terrorism laws. Obviously, their goal is to try to silence parents who seek to hold local school board members accountable to their communities.
In another example, WSSDA is supporting state-level efforts to teach critical race theory (CRT) to public school children under SB 5044, the bill Gov. Inslee signed in May. This prejudicial and divisive agenda says that white students are oppressors and students of other ethnicities are helpless victims. Instead of fostering caring and independent minds, CRT pits students against each other and denies them the opportunity to think for themselves.
National education expert Jay P. Greene has found that CRT, also known as “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” is doing damage “by reducing us and dividing us into ethnic and gender identity categories while by crushing the true intellectual and cultural diversity ”.
WSSDA is at the forefront of promoting CRT training for school board members as discussed here.
The WSSDA, through its “Educational Equity” program, appears to promote hiring goals and quotas on the basis of race, color and ethnicity, in violation of national law and law. our state’s civil rights law. (For more on basic civil rights protections, see my study “Knowing Your Rights” at https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/know-your-rights-a-guide-to-critical- race-theory-anti-discrimination-law-and-civil-rights-protections-for-all.)
In 2012, the WSSDA worked hard against the popular vote initiative to establish public charter schools. Voters still passed the measure, and today 4,000 students attend 14 caring and innovative charter schools across the state. WSSDA continues to work against charter school families and supports funding inequalities that deny these students learning opportunities.
Local school boards tell us they are chronically underfunded and regularly cut music, art, athletics and other popular programs. The legislature is expected to end the transfer of public funds to WSSDA and instead devote $ 3.5 million a year to benefiting music, the arts and athletics in elementary schools in Washington.