Law and order and communal responsibility
by Brian Patrick Moore,
November 10, 2021
Yahoo News photo
Brian responds to critical columns on education re. government education grants and parents anger at school boards over vaccine mandates & CRT in two successive Hernando Sun issues..
Here is the link to the Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2021 issue, p. 22:
Here is the link to the Nov. 5-11, 2021 issue, p. 23:
I wish to take issue with Ms. Kara Floyd’s “Open letter to all board of education members and associations,” in the Hernando Sun issue of October 29-Nov. 4, 2021, as well as to respond to Dr. Domenick L. Maglio’s column in the Hernando Sun's Nov. 5-11, 2021 issue regarding “Preventing Indoctrination in government schools by refusing federal grants."
The two critical columns basically cover issues in public education, so I will combine my response to both writers.
Ms. Floyd’s letter seems to imply that the National School Boards Associations (NSBA) is setting policy for the Hernando County School Board and for all schools throughout the County of Hernando and that the NSBA is accusing parents participation in board meetings as acts of domestic terrorism. She fails to mention that the NSBA represents 50 state associations with more than 90,000 school board members. It is these school boards who establish policy and curriculum for the country’s 14,000 local public school districts and 50 million school children, of which Hernando County participates. It is not the NSBA who sets or imposes policy on Hernando County. It is the school boards who consult with parents within their own school districts that set local policies. The NSBA basically lobbies state and federal government officials on behalf of the school boards.
Ms. Floyd seems to take personal offense that the NSBA wrote President Biden requesting the assistance of federal law enforcement officials (FBI, Homeland Security, Federal marshals, etc.) to monitor and take action where threats and acts of violence during public school board meetings are occurring It is a fact that school board meetings have been disrupted by parents in California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and many other states. In addition, the NSBA has documented parent threats against school board members that have come through the U.S. Postal Service, social media, other online platforms, and even at and around the homes of board members.
Other outside groups are posting watch lists against school board members and spreading misinformation that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum and working to maintain online learning and not go to work by haphazardly attributing it to the pandemic. Some of the verbal threats made by parents attending school board meetings being caught on nationwide media are "We are coming after you and all the members on the Board of Education,” “You will pay dearly” and "filthy traitor,” thereby labeling the school board members as Marxist.
Parents at board meetings are also expressing anger because of local school directives for mask coverings to protect students and educators from COVID-19, or for their belief that cultural issues of homosexuality, gender changes, critical race theory and revisionist history are being taught in their schools and are indoctrinating their children with false propaganda. The CRT is a theoretical issue only being debated in graduate university think tanks. It is not being taught in American schools.
ABC NEWS reported on July 1 that “Panicked dialogue on critical race theory made by lawmakers and the media does not reflect the reality in American classrooms.” And they also said that CRT has also become an amorphous, catch-all term used by the conservative movement as fodder for political debate. In the past month, Republican-controlled legislatures in 22 states have proposed legislation to limit the teaching of concepts of racial equity and white privilege under the umbrella of “critical race theory.”
Even the school parents’ anger in Hernando County has boiled over politically to the County commission, causing tension and feuding. A recent Hernando Today issue reported a confrontation between Hernando County Commissioner Steve Champion and Hernando County School Board member Jimmy Lodato, regarding the school board’s earlier mask mandate letter that was, according to Mr. Champion, “full of excuses." Commissioner Champion erupted at Mr. Lodato that “You guys [the school board] spit right in his [Gov. DeSantis] face and go against everything the governor wants in Florida.” “We expect no on taxes, no on masks,” Champion bitterly complained. School Board member Lodato exploded that “I don’t have to sit here and take your crap anymore.”
The widespread distribution of vaccines nationwide, and the call for vaccine mandates in schools, government and the private sector, are acts of public health, prioritizing the group rights of a communities and a nation, over the individual rights of citizens. We all have a civic obligation to promote the general welfare of our communities. To do less is a serious danger to our nation and its survivability.
In response to Dr. Maglio’s federal grants concerns and Ms. Floyd’s irritation of NSBA petitioning federal law enforcement assistance, the NSBA letter stated “ ..many districts receive federal funds and subsidies for services to millions of students with disabilities, health screenings and supplemental supports for disadvantaged students, child nutrition, broadband connectivity, educator development, school safety activities, career and technical education, and more.” Federal funding of schools is a small portion of overall funding. However, the federal grants provide extra money directly into the k-12 classrooms and districts in the areas of literacy, STEM, technology, curriculum, equipment, materials and staffing.
As for Dr. Maglio’s column stating opposition to federal education grants, most government money for education comes from state and county governments, from sales and property taxes. Florida lags behind other states when it comes to education spending and support, with only 16% of its 9.5 billion dollar budget allocated to state education. A Tampa Business Journal stated that a recent report from MoneyGeek has Florida scoring near the bottom for education spending by U.S. states. The Sunshine State spends the fifth-least amount of money (meaning Fl. Is 45th in the nation) per student graduates. Only Idaho, Arizona, Utah, North Carolina and Indiana have lower costs per graduate. Florida’s academic scores in the nation are low. Plus, the state government pays its teachers very low salaries. The state allows charter schools to avoid being monitored or having to meet state teaching criteria. Even uncertified teachers are permitted to teach in the Florida charter schools.
Where have our political and civic leaders been regarding demonstrating their concern and taking action to promote and finance a better educational system in Florida? It seems they only speak up about cultural and health issues that become politicized, and polarize more, a divided nation.
Public education, and the amount of support a state puts behind it, can have a major impact on future workforce development, with stronger education systems leading to higher education degrees and vocational training graduates, and, in turn, a more skilled workforce.
Won’t that be a better solution for Florida and its people? END