Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Cognitive Dissonance at the L.A. Times Regarding Parents' Role In Education

Shouldn’t the Times be more concerned with holding the district in their own backyard to account rather than haranguing parents running for school boards in other districts?

The Los Angeles Times seems to be suffering from serious cognitive dissonance. In a recent editorial, the Times dismissed the hundreds of California parents who ran for school board this year as having "mostly lost," while at the same time warning readers that the "parents first" movement is a major threat to the state's education establishment.

The Times writes: "Considering there are nearly 5,000 school board seats in California, the scattered victories of 'parents first' candidates in this mostly progressive state is not cause for undue concern."

But despite blowing off the parent movement throughout most of the editorial, the Times ultimately takes a foreboding tone:

"In many ways, the mass influx of these conservative candidates groomed by political groups reflects a battle for the soul of public education in California... If more liberal voters are concerned by this trend, they ought to take heed of the modest gains by 'parents first' candidates...."

In other words, the L.A. Times is sounding the alarm that "parents first" candidates have deeply shaken up the status quo.

While the Times got it right that California's parent movement "should be a wake-up call to the state's educators," it also got a whole lot wrong. For starters, the Times attempts to undercut the success of parent school board candidates by painting the parent movement as made up entirely of one-size-fits-all political conservatives.

In reality, the hundreds of parents who ran for school board this year ran as parents, not partisans.

California's parent movement is uniquely nonpartisan and politically diverse. Parent pushback against school mask mandates and school closures transcended political affiliation, as does opposition to Critical Race Theory and radical gender ideology in classrooms. Republicans, Democrats and Independents ran in their local school districts to stand up for students in response to school boards and school administrators that dismissed parent concerns.

And contrary to the Times' contention, California's parent movement wasn't limited to "conservative communities" or artificially drummed up by Republicans. California's parent movement emerged organically from parent frustration with education bureaucrats who thought they reported to teachers unions, not parents.

The biggest parent uprisings were often in "liberal communities" where school boards were the most tyrannical about Covid restrictions and forcing politicized curricula in classrooms. Lest the Times forget, liberal San Francisco voters recalled three school members due to parent frustration with school closures and an arrogant school board that pushed woke politics.

"Parents becoming more involved in their children's education is a healthy trend - but not if they only represent a narrow view of education," admonishes the L.A. Times.

Of course, most school boards have been held hostage by the teachers unions' one-sided view of education for years. The election of "parents first" school board members is bringing a much-needed infusion of viewpoint diversity to California school boards: parents' views! - the people school board members are supposed to represent.

But shouldn't the Times be more concerned with holding the district in their own backyard to account rather than haranguing parents running for school boards in other districts?

Parents are leaving LAUSD in droves due in large part to the iron grip teachers unions have on the district and the incompetent school board. LAUSD has lost more than 315,000 students in two decades, dropping from an enrollment of 737,739 students in 2002 to 422,276 this year. Nearly 72 percent of LAUSD students are unable to meet grade-level math standards and 58 percent of students can't meet state English Language Arts standards.

But somehow the only thing that inspires the L.A. Times to forewarn readers of impending doom is -gasp!- parents running for school board.

The good news: What the Times labels as "modest" gains are actually quite significant. Forty of the 120 candidates endorsed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Lance Christensen, CPC's Vice President of Education Policy and Government Affairs, won in November. That's a massive success when you consider that these were first-time candidates who took on the teachers union machine that spent millions advancing union preferences and trying to hold seats.

Parents flipped school boards in counties up and down California, including San Juan Unified, Temecula Valley Unified and several boards throughout Placer County, to name a few. And in the places where a newly-elected school board member may be the only parent advocate on the board, they are in a position to hold their board's feet to the fire in putting students and parents first.

"The best part of the 'parents first' story is that this is just the beginning," said Lance Christensen. "Hundreds of parent candidates have gained invaluable experience that makes them even better prepared for their next campaign."

"Many parent candidates have joined forces with each other and through groups like CPC's Parent Union, so there's now a united front of parents pushing back against the entrenched teachers' unions," Christensen added. "We've never seen anything like it in California and we're just getting started."

School board candidates and school board members of all political stripes are invited to CPC's Parent Union Legislative Summit "Parents, Not Partisans" in Sacramento, February 8-9, 2023. Learn more about the nonpartisan Summit below or RSVP here using the Promo Code: ParentUnion.


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