SB1447 STOPS MANDATORY SCHOOL BOARD TRAINING and SB1445 REDUCES ALL SCHOOL BOARD TERMS TO TWO YEARS
Over the last several years, it has become abundantly clear that many K12 public school boards do not have the best interest of parents at heart. For the last several years, parents across the country have expressed frustration over issues such as mask policies, Critical Race Theory and inappropriate reading material, only to have their microphones turned off, be completely ignored by Board members, or forced out of meetings by police.
At the end of last September, the contentious issue of parents and school boards came to a head when the National School Boards Association (NSBA) penned a letter to the Biden administration asking them to review whether angry parent outbursts can be acted upon as violations of the Patriot Act – indicating their wish to have dissenting parents treated as terrorists.
By October 4th, Attorney General Merrick Garland was directing the FBI to meet with federal and local law enforcement and state AGs toward the end of “addressing” school board outbursts and “threats”.
Public outcry over the letter quickly resulted in school board associations across the US canceling their memberships in NASBA, sending NASBA reeling to a corner from which they issued a public apology.
The Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) did neither. Though a group of Oklahoma law makers sent a letter to OSSBA President Shawn Hime asking him to withdraw from NASBA over the letter, Hime refused to answer and – as past president of NASBA – continued OSSBA’s association with NASBA anyway.
The news only gets worse. Thanks to an FOI request submitted by grassroots parents group, Parents Defending Education, it became clear that Biden Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, actually ASKED NASBA to write the letter to the Biden administration and later, Cardona added the head of NASBA to the board which governs the National Association of Educational Progress (The Nation’s Report Card) ostensibly as a “thank you” for his service.
Why would the OSSBA ignore the request of state legislators to withdraw from NASBA – especially after the controversy continued?
In fact, the OSSBA is no stranger to controversy. The OSSBA fought every effort to stop Common Core, frequently siding with the Superintendents union (CCOSA) and the OEA among others. They have been for every teacher pay raise offered – especially the enormous Step Up plan in 2018.
The OSSBA is a non-profit corporation which, though it has partners, receives millions of dollars a year from public schools for dues, training and other services, making it an organization paid ostensibly with tax dollars.
Though HB1775 was passed last year to stop the teaching of CRT tenets in public schools, the OSSBA seems very preoccupied with race. There’s a section of their blog entitled, “Voices” which has several essays on race and a post outlining “The Problem With HB1775”.
Then there are some very problematic trainings based on race and equity:
Then there is their affiliation with the NASBA Equity Symposium:
Then, there’s all the lobbying they do. Last year they wanted to stop school board elections from being held in November:
According to Title 70 5-110, school board members are to receive 15 hours of training over a five year term.
Elected legislators are not required to receive training prior to taking their seat – nor are they to take continuing education courses.
City Council members and Mayors are required to take a one day course given by the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML).
- Why should school board members be forced to receive so much more training than any other elected official?
- Why is the OSSBA listed in law as a training provider? Isn’t that protectionism?
- Why would the law say that ELECTED school board members can be removed if they do not take training? How can an official elected by the PEOPLE be removed by the government for not taking mandatory subjective training?
SB1447 by Shane Jett repeals statutory training and, instead provide optional training for school board members at their local vo-tech, where the money would stay in their town instead of going to a non-profit organization that doesn’t need more state money. It also removes the OSSBA as a training provider and repeals the section that allows school board members to be fired for not attending training.
SB1445 reduces school board terms to two years.
Title 70 5-107a describes the length of school board terms. Elementary District members serve 3 year terms. Independent districts with five-member boards serve 5 and 7-member boards serve 4.
Most district terms are 4 years. If a school board member begins their term fighting parents at every turn, like a school board member from Deer Creek Schools, Lorrie Bamford, no change can be made to the seat for FOUR YEARS, leaving parents with little ability to have a voice in their child’s school throughout their entire high school career!
State Representatives are elected EVERY TWO YEARS. Why should a school board member have a term longer than a State Representative?
A two-year term could make it easier for busy community members to serve at least one term on their local school board, increasing the pool of possible candidates – plus, prevent authoritarian Board Members from becoming entrenched in their position and hard to remove in favor of more parent friendly candidates.
Please support these two bills by asking your Senator and Representative to sign on as Co-Authors! OSSBA will do everything it can to make sure neither of these bills pass the legislature and we’ll need YOU to see that they do!