The Fargo School Board voted 7-2 on Tuesday to keep its mask mandate in place. Of course, “science” is the publicly-stated reason for the vote, but this was actually a show of force, of spiking the football. Upon further review the call for excessive gloating in the endzone stands, the penalty will be enforced at the next election…hopefully.
Yes, we all know that the effort to recall several members of the Fargo School Board had issues and was, shall we say, less than successful. The gloating and ridicule from the usual quarters is expected, but it would be nice if there was some acknowledgement of parent concerns, some level of empathy, of understanding. Government education is not the best fit for every child, for every family, but it can better serve the students, if school leaders chose to do so.
This is not just about masks or vaccine mandates – the underlying concerns for many parents go much deeper and has been growing long before we ever heard about COVID-19 (20, 21, 22). It boils down to accountability. But one side feels that the School Board, administration and teachers, the “experts” have full authority to decide what is taught and how. The other side believes that parents have the authority to determine what is taught to their children and how government education should be delivered.
The pandemic did not create this divide, it simply exposed it, fully. And the clamoring by many to be led by the expert class just got stronger. Expertism has replaced personal freedom and critical thinking. And here we are.
Parents, if you want a say in the education of your children, stay involved. Be prepared for the name-calling and shaming, turn your passion into productive actions. Make your voices heard. Do not expect acknowledgement or acceptance of your beliefs. Understanding the beliefs of those who want to determine what is taught and how. The believers in expertism are emboldened and feel the wind in their sails and they are showing their cards. They are saying the quiet part out loud.
The final debate in the Virginia governor race was held last Tuesday and Terry McAuliffe, former governor and Democrat candidate for the office, said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Yes, Terry, that was your out-loud voice.
But it is not just Terry, many people in North Dakota agree with him and find that statement as no big deal. The good news is that those who believe in parent’s rights and the accountability of elected officials need to fully understand the world view of those who believe otherwise.
True believers in expertism go ahead and gloat, ridicule, shame or ignore the parents speaking out. Spike the football, rub their noses in it. But there are serious issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. Those issues are not going away. Passion can turn to productive action.
Government schools are not the answer for every student – more options are coming.
Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.