Public schools need to get their wings clipped
In tiny Washougal, Washington (pop. 14,095), the school board members — elected officials, not hereditary peers — have become so powerful in the last year that they are running school board meetings like their private fiefdom. Or at least that's the takeaway from a meeting in which the school board manipulated procedures so that three mothers who wanted to talk about Critical Race Theory and masks were not only shut out of the meeting, but received police citations. It's a shocking story and reminds us that public education in America has gotten too powerful, whether it's administrators, elected school boards, or unionized teachers we're talking about.
The best way to understand the Washougal school board's hubris is to think about Singin' in the Rain (SITR), a brilliant comic musical that sets a romance against the backdrop of Hollywood's painful transition from silent movies to talkies, a change that destroyed the careers of dozens of silent stars. In SITR, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are the golden silent screen pairing. However, while Lockwood can sing and dance, making him a shoo-in for talkies, Lina Lamont has a voice that sours milk.
Fortunately, Lockwood's girlfriend, Kathy Selden, has a lovely singing voice — and so, the first dubbed singing is born! Lamont is quick to recognize that, with her looks and fame, and Selden's voice, the world is her oyster. This goes to her head, so she informs the studio head that she's now "bigger than Calvin Coolidge...put together!" The studio must bend to her will:
The studio head backs down — but the premiere of the new "all singing, all dancing" movie gives the studio head and Lockwood the opportunity to expose Lamont for the manipulative faker she is. When the applause goes to her head and she speaks, the audience, repulsed by her speaking voice, demands that she sing. The rest is the perfect revenge:
America's public schools are Lina Lamont. For decades, in suburbs, small towns, and rural communities, they've been coasting on a reputation for "caring" and being the "busy bees" that take care of America's children. They're the stars, and you, the parents, are the ones who must hand them your money and worship their gracious efforts to train your children in values antithetical to yours.
For many people across America, however, 2020 and 2021, which brought with them the one-two of COVID and the BLM madness, ripped the mask off the teachers and school boards. Suddenly, like Lina Lamont, they'd gotten too big for their britches. We saw them as the self-centered fakes they really are. Too many (not all, but too many) teachers, teachers' unions, administrators, and school boards don't care about the children in their charge. They want money and control — and as little work as possible.
That's the setup for what happened in Washougal, when three moms — Tatyana Stepanyuk, Patricia Bellamy, and Melissa Mcilwain — wanted to speak at the meeting of their local school board. The fact that the district is just across the Columbia River from Portland may explain what happened.
Stepanyuk has a medical reason for not wearing a mask — masks that the CDC is backing away from. However, the school superintendent, Mary Templeton, refused to allow Stepanyuk to speak despite being reminded about the mask exception for medical reasons. What's stunning is Templeton's unvarnished arrogance:
Mom: It's a public meeting and I'll stay in the public meeting that I am legally allowed to be in. … I'm good. I can be here.
Superintendent: I believe this is the board's meeting
Mom: It's public schools, in a public building, for a public meeting.
Superintendent: Well, sure, but … we have the guidance that we're going to ask you to follow.
All the while, Templeton stands closer and closer to Stepanyuk, showing that she doesn't care about a minute infection risk; she cares about power.
The board eventually cited a "disruption" to clear the room. It then recalled friendly attendees and locked out the moms (AKA parents and taxpayers) who had wanted to discuss substantive issues and eventually called the police on them. You've got to read the whole thing to appreciate the despotic madness.
Washougal's meeting is a particularly egregious example of the unbridled Lina Lamont–style arrogance in America's public schools. They locked children out for COVID and now seek to drag them back in to indoctrinate them with Critical Race Theory.
This will not stop until parents stop it. Speak up, document what happens, and run for the school board. Also, remember that if you're a non-minority family, your children's chances of getting into college or, if they attend, getting anything out of the experience other than high tuition payments are slim to nil. That means less of a downside to rocking the public school boat. And if your school or school board deprives you or your child of your rights, sue. Lawfare is a great way to tame these beasts.
Image: Superintendent Templeton treating like unruly children the parents who pay her salary. YouTube screen grab.