The Sad State of Schools in Indiana

By: - September 10, 2021

I feel like I’m getting quite a bit of practice at the art of futility. I’ve gone before the school board several times, sent multiple emails to the administration, and met with school leadership. If leadership is what you choose to call it. Directors governing the actions of the district doesn’t make anyone a leader. The citizens of my central Indiana town elected the five people at the table to lead the school district and hire a superintendent to manage the direction of the school. Instead, we have individuals being led around by their noses to do the oligarchy’s bidding. I wonder what principles these five board members use to decide the fate of the school. Is it willful ignorance, fiscal greed, personal ambition, or blind obedience?

Other individuals, as well as myself, have privately asked members of our school board and the superintendent to stand up and publicly state their positions on several subjects. We’ve asked for the guidance directing the latest masking mandates and the metrics used for what appears to be predetermined actions. We’ve asked for individual stances on critical race theory and its marketing campaign, social-emotional learning (SEL). While the board and superintendent have professed a desire for and promised transparency, parents have received little clarity regarding matters at hand. The promises to parents and taxpayers about openness only went so far as to send the meetings to virtual, taking the power of overwhelming presence away from the public. Thus, instead of clarity, all I see is the murkiness of swampy water.

Due to parliamentary rules, the board is not allowed to engage with speakers during public comment, and that is all well and good. However, the administration avoids taking a stand or publicly defining their positions on anything. The proof of this is evident as they dance around subjects in emails and one on one meetings. Since the board wears its tap-dancing shoes so well, direct fire is now necessary. Why should any of us follow any direction from the five members of the board when they haven’t told parents about the applications for the ESSER grants that have been embedded in the CARES and CRRSA acts as well as the American Rescue Plan? To apply, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and local schools had to submit a mitigation plan regarding masks, injection clinics, and contact tracing. In the Indiana application for the grants, it states that Governor Holcomb signed an executive order putting the responsibility of masking and public health measures in the hands of school governing bodies and also encouraged following guidance from the CDC and the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH). The Indiana application also required a description of how the local education agencies will follow CDC guidelines. They are simultaneously encouraging and mandating compliance with CDC instructions. They can’t have it both ways, which is a growing tactic.

Instead of telling concerned parents that all the mitigation measures were in place and the district had to follow CDC recommendations to get more money for the district, the school board president claimed he hadn’t read anything about masks and could only follow CDC guidance. When I presented data about masks to him, and asked for the policy dictating the response to positive cases or the threshold to forced masking, I was dismissed with an excuse that any pre-Delta data was worthless. His response was remarkably vaguer than another Indiana district’s, Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools, whose administration admitted they’d received guidance from lawyers who said they would lose funding if they removed mask mandates. Or districts in Elkhart and Ft Wayne, Indiana, who have been forced under legal action or legal advice to mandate masking. Yet again, tyrants are making decisions under the guise of safety when money is the central issue. With all the coercion to convince people to take the shot, it should come as no surprise that ESSER funding also goes toward immunization clinics through schools. The financing of shot clinics and Dr. Fauci’s succession schools should require the jabs, brings a significant amount of unrest to parents who aren’t in favor of the most recent vaccines. Since my school board president wants to dismiss any data released pre-Delta and hide where the funding is going, any data that promotes masks and came out pre-Delta is likewise dismissible along with any justification of ESSER funds.

The board tells parents to obey their directions which they claim come from local, state, and federal health agencies, though the County Board of Health denies any sway with the schools and claims they repeat what the IDOH directs. Nevertheless, the next week my kid’s principal stated the school administration was meeting with the County Board of Health to determine whether to mask before the school year started. Is this willful ignorance or fiscal greed in action? Assuming the board and school administration would deny both. It must be blind obedience as the school sheepishly follows the guidance of the IDOH and the leadership of the state health commissioner, Dr. Box OBGYN, who reprimanded anyone not wearing a mask at a recent press conference and claimed the only way to beat this virus is by masking up. This news conference took place one week after she attended her son’s wedding maskless. She then defended her right not to wear a mask by stating she made an informed decision. If that is the example we are supposed to follow, every parent can therefore make the same informed decision.

Is the school board and administration not capable of being informed and making decisions based on research? It would appear they only rubber stamp anything that crosses their desk. Why would the board assume parents can’t be informed as well? If schools believe parents can’t make a knowledgeable decision about masks, the school implies they know better than doctors, who must obtain informed consent from a parent or guardian before they’re allowed to treat a minor. Who gave the schools the idea that they have the power to mandate specific actions for another’s child? The parent’s duty is to raise their children and make decisions based on what is best for their kids. These children aren’t the teachers union’s kids, as the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) claims on their union t-shirts, and their job is only to teach academics, not indoctrinate. The answer to why they can’t make an informed decision or allow parents to do so is evident by their support of SEL and the funding for the SEL program Panorama through the ESSER grants.

The superintendent told parents that the school completely supports SEL. The support of SEL is so great in Indiana that Hamilton Southeastern Schools lowered their graduation requirements “due to the pandemic,” yet ignored the lessening focus on academics for social and emotional education. My school superintendent defended the district’s support of SEL by stating they would teach our kids how to think, not what to think. No one, other than the parent, gets to teach a child how to think. Only two months ago, the superintendent promised, “We will continue to teach your [parents] children how to be respectful… Even when you cannot”. What gives anyone, other than the parent, the right to teach students the teacher’s values over the parent’s? It is not the board or school administrator’s job to tell our kids how to think or raise them. It is the parent’s job to teach their kids to think for themselves, instill their values, and make informed decisions regarding their children.

The superintendent told me in August that “equity of opportunity” has been in education for thirty years. Yet when I met with the school board president in July, he told me he was trying to persuade our superintendent to add “of opportunity” to equity. At least one of them lied to me with a straight face. You can change definitions and polish a turd, but you are only creating a ruse that equity is somehow equal opportunity instead of equal outcome. The administration still denies teaching CRT in our schools. At the same time, multiple people have had the superintendent privately admit that she had found some material in assignments and at least one inappropriate book. I guess one pornographic book removed from a school would be a good thing if I had not found a dozen more. Just six weeks ago, a nearby school district, Carmel Clay Schools, made national news because parents had no other option but to read excerpts of explicit books at the school board meeting. The administration wouldn’t take action when they were privately asked about the books numerous times. I wonder if that is what it will take to cause any real change or accountability. When you turn on the lights, the cockroaches tend to retreat.

It is time for parents to stop letting schools indoctrinate our children through teaching kids how to think, to fear the air they breathe, and that the school knows better than parents, under the guise of safety. Risk is part of life and the school helicopter parenting my children is not acceptable. As the Roe V. Wade decision stated, no government agency can dictate an individual’s medical care, and likewise, the individual is responsible for the choices they make. The Supreme Court ruling means that the parent gets to make medical decisions for their children, and if they choose not to mask their child and the child gets sick, the parent is the responsible party. It’s not the school’s responsibility or right to govern the medical decisions for children. Likewise, it is not the school’s job to decide what the pronoun, identity, or victimhood status of children is through CRT ideology and the SEL programs. Schools are trying to teach that we must look back generations to determine what the child needs to succeed. They’ve forgotten that in America, you can do whatever you want to do in life if you have the drive to work hard enough for it. Step up, parents- regardless of the muck that entitled school systems will throw your way. Your children are worth it. If parents don’t stand up, our children will be lost forever.