Op-ed: Let's not subject the school board to party politics

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  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Oct. 23, 2017 1:39 p.m.

    At one time, education--like city services such as zoning, roads, sewers, police, fire, etc--was largely free of partisan differences. At such a time, school board members served without compensation, district offices were somewhere between modest and Spartan, schools were expected to be functional but not fancy, and teaching was viewed as a calling, a great second job for a family.

    Today, however, partisan differences pervade education. From the content of sex ed, to which math curriculum to use, what should be taught in terms of history and civics, how to handle discipline, school choice, and even whether to allow boys to use the girls' locker room are all questions whose answers largely fall along partisan lines.

    At the same time, school board members are now quite well compensated with government health insurance, and both district offices and schools are required to be lavish.

    Voter turnout is low meaning small special interests (eg teachers, construction contractors) can easily influence elections. We need the vetting provided by party delegates and the party affiliation to guide voters.

    Non-partisan just makes it too easy for liberals to get elected.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Oct. 22, 2017 4:59 p.m.

    Impartial 7 - I would gladly settle for the 1940s education system as students learned and became educated citizens, there were only minor discipline problems, and there was absolutely no federal government involvement in education at all. What is your problem with that?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 22, 2017 8:37 a.m.

    "To suggest that a candidate for a state-wide office has no political philosophy and somehow will raise funds independent of some party or politically oriented organization is not realistic. "

    I would say that for a candidate for a local office to need someone in DC to tell them what their "political philosophy" is .... that my friend is more unrealistic. Utahan's don't need some party elite to tell them what to think. If we/they do.... they shouldn't run.

    And any real study of politics shows that no party is absolute. There is no "singular" way of thinking. There is no absolute adherence to some political philosophy. One can be for social justice, and against abortion. One can be a gun owner, even enthusiast, and not agree with NRA extremism.

    To say that Alpine School district needs to be taking its direction from some political group from DC.... I think we are all way smarter than that. Don't need their party mandates. Shouldn't need outside the state money for local elections.

  • 1voice Orem, UT
    Oct. 22, 2017 1:11 a.m.

    Wow! Thank you very much, but I don't need my kids' and grand-kids' classrooms "guarded" by the Republican party. (SCARY!) As a life-long GOP-er, I've watch some party leadership and a few specific legislators go through some very twisted philosophical gyrations, only to end up with education dollars in their own pockets! For example, how did the party of "fiscal responsibility" come out supporting (even shoving down our throats) the biggest entitlement program ever ----school vouchers??? The "Big Bad" UEA teachers' union? I'm so tired of that line. Do you know how much we owe these profession men and women who've kept our education system functioning in spite of draconian under-funding? Our schools going down the liberal sewer? I'm sorry, but that just isn't happening in Utah. Every school in Utah has a School Community Council, made up of parents and school representatives. They evaluate and set goals together every year to improve their school. And it's working! And, BTW, did you know that it's actually unconstitutional to require a partisan test to be on the State School Board? -- Call your representatives, call Sen. Greg Hughes --the elephant in our classrooms has got to go!

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    Oct. 21, 2017 4:48 p.m.

    I think the wish of non-partisanship in elections for major offices is a nice dream that flies in the face of reality. To suggest that a candidate for a state-wide office has no political philosophy and somehow will raise funds independent of some party or politically oriented organization is not realistic. Even in local elections people know to which party or political philosophy the candidates relate.

    My major objection to the past system was the governor selected candidates for the board. The governor is political, what makes you think his/her choices won't reflect his opinions and desires on the board.

    Segregating or discriminating against a person on the basis of his/her political party affiliation to prohibit them from standing for election to a political office is hypocritical.

    The danger is that these offices are down ballot and won't get the scrutiny they deserve, except at a convention where delegates can cull the field, democratically speaking. Other wise we are left with open primaries which give us nice sound bites and slick ads, for the candidate with the most money, raised on their good looks and virtue.

  • Denverite Centennial, CO
    Oct. 21, 2017 4:33 p.m.

    This is one of those ideas that sounds great on paper--but has no basis whatever to anything approaching real life.

    It would be great if basic American values (patriotism, respect for elders, getting good grades, working hard, America is still the best country in the world, etc.) that a large majority of Americans agreed on 60 years ago and more were still supported by both parties equally.

    The problem is that, as a whole, Democrats no longer accept the values above--or have their own unique immoral twist on those values in some way. And whenever they get in power, they do what they can to get rid of more of those values--and more of those people who support them.

    The only real way to prevent that is for a Republican to run with the idea of keeping those values somewhat intact--and then the Democrats' first criticism is, "You're imposing your values on other people."

    The politicization ship for school boards sailed a long time ago--and it was put to sea by Democrats.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2017 3:40 p.m.

    Well, I can understand why a former Board of Education member and retired university professor wants to avoid "partisan" school board elections.

    The education system has been controlled by liberals and Democrats (but I repeat myself) for about 50 years across the country. During that time our educational achievements have plummeted so that colleges spend much of the first year on remedial programs. The thrust has become more indoctrination and pushing of leftist causes than teaching basic knowledge and critical thinking skills and reading and writing.

    The teachers unions have given Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990 (per OpenSecrets.org).

    Clearly the Democrats do not want to allow voters to know the party affiliation or philosophy of school board candidates for fear of losing their control over what and how our kids are taught.

    Give voters a choice between candidates with party affiliation and they can cast intelligent ballots instead of just guessing at what a candidate believes.

    Make school board elections partisan now!

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 21, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    "What a step backward for schools in our Beehive State!"

    Utah government is not content with us stuck in the 1960's. They must get us back to the 1940's.