Lakers4Change and our amazing endorsed candidates Amy Bullyan, Geoff Zahn, Lisa Atkinson and Bill Markert were featured on a KARE11 segment, that aired Monday evening, and it can also be read about on KARE11’s website.
After watching the segment and reading the article that followed, there are several details, or lack thereof, to note.
Screenshots of KARE11 article added for context. Source: https://www.kare11.com/article/news/politics/political-ideology-school-board-contests/89-7dc46ddc-0d30-4e0c-9a05-6bc55b183a09
The first detail worth noting is that the UNION is not clearly identified in the article as the UNION, but instead simply as Prior Lake-Savage Education Association (PLSEA). This seemingly deceptive tactic was also used by the Prior Lake-Savage UNION itself, as their own expensive mailer omitted the word UNION, and also by candidate Jessica Olstad, when large yard signs with all four UNION endorsed candidates’ names began popping up around the district, bearing the phrase “endorsed by the teachers of the Prior Lake-Savage Education Association” and again, not clarifying that PLSEA is the teachers UNION.
Next, notice how the author of the article states that there are “two distinct groups of candidates” and claims that the UNION endorsed four are “endorsed by teachers” and that the Lakers4Change endorsed four are endorsed by “a statewide “parental rights” group.” What the author fails to mention is that Bullyan, Zahn, Atkinson and Markert are also endorsed by teachers, just not by the teachers’ UNION. Additionally, a top priority of the Lakers4Change endorsed candidates, if elected, is supporting parental rights in the schools, particularly when it comes to medical and/or health decisions and parents’ rights to know what their children are being taught in school. This was also one of the reasons that Lakers4Change chose to endorse these four.
One of the reasons the UNION likely looks to endorse candidates like Olstad and her running mates is because of statements like hers, “I also want to make sure we trust teachers to do their jobs and get out of their way.” Trust and get out of their way? How would this be a harmonious relationship, expecting parents to hand over their children and step aside to “let them teach the way they want”? This is why parents are now demanding curriculum transparency and parental rights to be protected in public schools, because districts were trusted to teach the way they want. Parents were just unaware of WHAT they wanted to teach our children and that is why parents are now speaking out.
You’ll begin to notice a common trend among the UNION endorsed candidates as well. Take note of the common use of the words INCLUSION and LOVE. Making children feel included and a sense of Laker Pride is a no brainer. Who wouldn’t want that for every student? However, the use of the word LOVE doesn’t seem to quite fit in reference to relationships between educators, administration and the students they oversee. Parents and guardians do not need educators and staff to “LOVE” their children, they need them to protect, respect and teach. In fact, the responsibility of a school board director has very little to do with feelings. The responsibility of a school board director is about policy and governance, not loving anyone. It is a director’s job to create policies that PROTECT the rights of students, parents and staff, policies that RESPECT the individuality and boundaries of those same people and policies that ensure our educators TEACH the students according to state standards. It is also that director’s job to ensure that these policies are being enforced consistently and without bias. A school board director is an elected official hired to manage the operations of a multimillion dollar entity that is in the business of PROTECTING, RESPECTING and TEACHING the children of the district it serves not enforcing ideology. Leave the LOVE and identity decisions in the hands of the families. To quote Olstad, “This is about our kids’ lives.”
And lastly, transparency. Perhaps Olstad speaks the truth about her experience thus far as a parent. After all, she has said that she wants to be an “elementary voice” on the school board. Many parents will say that elementary education is quite simple in that it’s main purpose is to teach the basic elements of academics to prepare students for more in-depth and complicated subjects in middle and high school. Middle and high school seems to be where the lack of transparency becomes more apparent.
Once a student enters middle school, there are a multitude of teachers and classes that become part of that student’s daily life. This is also a common age for adolescents to become less open with parents, which could be a potential problem if a curriculum lacks transparency. The details of what is being taught to students, is not readily available to parents before a lesson takes place, it is “in the fine print.” These details may include a video or slide shown in class, like the ones shared in a previous post, which will only be known to the parent after the child has watched it in class and felt the need to share it with their parent afterward. Is this when we “reach out to teachers?” Or is this an example of lack of transparency in the curriculum?
The only additional things to point out are that the incumbents are absent, again and that this story feels a little bias when they disclose, at the end of the video segment, that Olstad is married to a former reporter of KARE11.
Actually, maybe KARE11 should check their implicit bias.