By Steve Woodward
Many citizens have in recent months found themselves grappling with unusual impulses. Such as: an overwhelming desire to punch Anthony Fauci.
Among these widespread urges, one in particular has caught many off guard. “By golly, I’m running for school board.”
Some in Moore County have thought about it simply because a board seat is reserved. You do not have to wait in line for it. In intense heat. Bone-chilling cold. Soaking rain. If you’re just some taxpayer with a piece of your mind scribbled on paper, you have grown weary of being told to line up, mask up and shut up. You figure a school board position might also grant immunity from the threat of physical removal by Moore County Schools security officers (although, I’m guessing, a few thought about dragging out David Hensley by the ankles after he recently outed their woeful lack of active-shooter training).
Beyond avoidance of harassment, many citizens across the nation have thrown their names into the ring as school board candidates. Others have enlisted hundreds to form community watchdog groups to monitor board activities, call out hypocrisy and, when necessary, tee up lawsuits.
For the rest of us now awakened to the ill intent running deep within the bowels of public education, we know that, short of running for a board seat, we must become more vigilant, ask more questions, demand greater transparency. That starts with paying attention to who is running in this very election cycle.
But I contend it must go further than that. Whether we support or oppose a particular candidate, what really matters is that citizens force these candidates to put an end to the platitudes and start talking straight, laying out detailed solutions to problems, both readily solved and complex.
Because once elected, some board members become masters of evasion, half-truths and data manipulation and, worse, they get better at it as time goes by. Exhibits A, A, A and A are named Caldwell, Carter, Dennison and Thompson.
But let’s say we give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment. When they were candidates did anybody ask them the questions I want to ask them, or the questions I will continue to ask the latest roster of candidates vying for two at-large seats in the May primary?
Probably not. We settled for, “We can do better and we will,” when queried about declining student performance scores on the fundamentals — reading and math. We settled for, “Why, won’t you just look at those graduation rates!”
But who is asking: Are we hiring the right teachers? Are we ever firing some of them based on tepid student performances? Who is responsible for learning outcomes if not teachers? Or, are the teachers caught in the middle?
Were they handcuffed by Moore County Schools and its dictatorial superintendent, the infamous and now departed Dr. Bob Grimesey? Or by the state Department of Instruction and feckless Superintendent Catherine Truitt? Or by the radical Left dominated state Board of Education, led by a Black Lives Matter militant?
None of the aforementioned wish to elevate your children. They desire to own your children. This being the reality of our time, I have no choice but to make candidates uncomfortable. In fact, I have a responsibility.
Rollie Sampson, “unaffiliated” at-large candidate: During a March 19 forum you said Moore County schools are declining because we have defunded essentials such as teachers’ aids. Who defunded them? The answer is, the defunders are the current and past board members supporting your candidacy. This suggests you have an ulterior agenda. What is it?
Robin Calcutt, “Republican” at-large candidate: Your time employed as a Moore Schools administrator saw you overseeing planning, accountability and research. That’s a lot of responsibility. Yet, this time frame aligns with a breathtaking decline in student performance scores. As a school board member, would you undo what you did as an administrator?
Ken Benway, lifelong Republican and retired active duty military: You have noted that security on high school campuses, particularly Pinecrest High School, is marginal, that students eat lunch in their cars with doors locked. What steps would you take to dismantle the Moore County Schools team of school resource officers (aka, a private police force answering to the Superintendent)? And then what?
Shannon Davis, Republican, Moore County parent and novice candidate: You are a staunch opponent of inappropriate books in our school media centers, and “woke” curricula. Please explain your game plan to systematically cleanse libraries of gender dysphoric content and a curricula of lesson plans that trample Christian values and American exceptionalism. How do you overcome the establishment as one person?
Pauline Bruno, longtime Republican Party volunteer, and retired career school teacher: You advocate for eliminating digital learning for young grade schoolers, and returning textbooks and paper-and-pencil activities. It is a noble but challenging goal. Please propose a blueprint that would activate this transition, addressing the inevitable costs of unwinding the digital programs and restoring traditional learning tools to classrooms? If this is desirable but not cost effective, there will be pushback.