The Wisconsin Association of School Boards [WASB] voted Tuesday not to renew its membership with the National School Boards Association [NSBA], continuing an exodus by state school board groups following the controversy over angry parents being compared to domestic terrorists.
The WASB’s decision came after it voted to withdraw its participation in NSBA programs and activities back in November, with the group citing “ongoing concerns” about the NSBA’s “leadership, governance structure, and transparency.” Wisconsin school boards are also not being represented effectively at the national level, the group concluded.
“Actions by the NSBA’s leadership last fall needlessly harmed school board relationships and inflamed partisan tensions. Those actions caused more than half of the state school board organizations across the nation to distance themselves from the NSBA or drop membership entirely,” the WASB said in a statement issued to its members.
The WASB added they are encouraged by the NSBA’s new executive director Dr. John Heim.
Dozens of other states have taken similar actions after the Justice Department compared actions taken by angry parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorism last fall. The NSBA’s letter to the Biden administration caused much controversy, prompting almost half the country to leave the organization.
The NSBA underwent an independent investigation to identify internal issues that led to the decision.
The independent review finding stated that “the letter was not widely reviewed or approved within the organization, and the finalized letter was not disclosed to the full NSBA Board of Directors or NSBA members until after it was submitted.”
Early demands from the National School Boards Association to the White House included calling for the deployment of the Army National Guard and the military police to monitor school board meetings, according to an early draft letter the organization’s independent review released May 20th.
In contrast to the final version, the draft of the NSBA letter said, “We ask that the Army National Guard and its Military Police be deployed to certain school districts and related events where students and school personnel have been subjected to acts and threats of violence.”
After the NSBA received much criticism for its letter to the White House and a resulting memo byAttorney General Merrick Garland, the organization issued an apology, but that did not stop the backlash from several states who distanced themselves from the organization or completely cut ties.
According to Parents Defending Education, 30 states have distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
School board meetings have become battlegrounds between parents and school board officials since the pandemic began.
Parents all over the country have been speaking out against coronavirus-induced mandates in schools and curriculums that have been associated with critical race theory.
While most school districts reject the notion that students are directly being taught CRT, many point to elements of the academic school of thought infiltrating the school system.
The disagreements have prompted parents in many locations to run for positions on their local school boards, including in the Badger State.