47.7 F
Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeIllinois NewsBeckman: Beware of frustrated parents

Beckman: Beware of frustrated parents



NBC photo

By Hank Beckman

Thou shall not screw with the parents of school children.”

So goes an unspoken but immutable principle of local politics that any number of school districts are determined to violate when they push their critical race theory/white oppressor curriculum on the children of America.

I spent more than a decade covering school districts in DuPage County and the La Grange area and I can assure you that messing with their kids is the surest way to enrage the parents of any community.

To get an idea of the influence that parents are capable of wielding in any argument over local school policy, put aside for a moment the debate over critical race theory, a fairy recent controversy.

Consider the parental outrage from communities when school districts close schools or propose adjusting the boundaries that affect which schools their children attend.

Whether its the Chicago Public Schools closing facilities that are underutilized (so CPS claimed), suburban and rural school districts adjusting their attendance boundaries, or bussing school children several miles away to achieve racial balance in enrollment, parents of all races and ethnicities tend to go ballistic at the thought of their children’s lives being disrupted by being transferred out of neighborhood schools.

Even floating the idea of moving children out of neighborhood schools can bring down the wrath of parents on naive or unsuspecting school boards.

In 2019, La Grange School District 105 was rumored to be entertaining the idea that the best way to serve their students might be to establish “grade centers,” a model where every district school would house only two grades, meaning children would have to switch schools every two years.

Prior to the word getting out that the district was considering grade centers, District 105 board meetings were quiet affairs, with citizen attendance consisting of a few dedicated residents keeping tabs on the Board of Education. (And me, if there happened to be a budget or teacher contract vote)

But when word got out about a possible move to grade centers, the mood changed quickly.

The first school board meeting after the news got out wasn’t quite like the original “Frankenstein” movie, with the townspeople marching on the board with torches, shovels and pitchforks; but it had that same vigilante atmosphere.

After a couple meetings running late into the night, with parents giving full expression to their negative feelings on the scheme, the district found it wise to announce that it had no plans to implement a change in the way students were assigned to schools.

And that parental outrage was the result not of an actual proposal on the agenda, but just the rumor of a pending change.

The District 105 lesson should be instructive to parents outraged by out-of-touch school boards and administrators pushing critical race theory on its students.

Provoking the fury of parents is the last thing that any school board wants to accomplish, and there is no question that they will be susceptible to parental pressure.

Being composed of human beings like the rest of us, school boards don’t like to be embarrassed. They are not just elected officials, they are the elected legislative officials who, along with village boards and park district commissioners, are in closest contact with their constituents.

If a citizen has a beef with their U.S Senator, congressman, or state representative, it might prove difficult to get in touch with them in any meaningful way. Congressional aides can put a citizen off with promising to look into a matter, only to never be heard from again. Actually attending a legislative session to make your feelings heard can be impossible due to the travel involved and the time off work required.

But school board meetings, being in the evenings and right in the neighborhood, are easily accessible to any citizen interested in watching government in action.

While the administrators involved in implementing curriculum often have contracts with school districts that might make them feel invulnerable, that impression is often mistaken.

I’ve seen more than one superintendent fired because of controversies involving failed referendums or proposed boundary changes; those issues quickly become small potatoes when compared to implementing curriculum teaching students that all their white classmates are unfairly privileged and participating in the oppression of non-whites.

While it’s a definite positive that parents all over the country are finally starting to wake up to the fact that public schools

have for decades been indoctrinating their children in leftist ideology, more direct action will be required.

To have some input over the curriculum foisted on their children, people will have to get involved in elections for their local school boards.

It’s not enough to attend board meetings and complain about critical race theory while the issue is hot and everyone is paying attention. That’s easy; the real work will start when we start seriously vetting school board candidates and forcing them to confront the issues raised by critical race theory.

We need to get beyond the standard campaign rhetoric about a candidate’s family, their amorphous views about education values, and how they’re “stakeholders” in the community just like the rest of us.

Force them to address what type of curriculum they will approve for district schools. Make them take a position on whether they’re in favor of teaching schoolchildren that their white classmates are somehow flawed simply by the color of their skin; demand they answer if they agree with Robin DiAngelo when she writes in her critical race theory bible White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism that “White people in North America live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality.”

Stopping the racist nonsense from infecting our local schools will not easy or in any way pleasant. School boards are made up of our neighbors, some who live next door. Many we like and socialize with; their children are friends with our children, many since kindergarten, playing in little league together, exploring the mysteries and wonders that come with growing up.

But the people who typically run for school boards also tend to be bleeding heart liberals who tend to believe every supposed victim’s story, no matter how bigoted the narrative or outrageous the con proposed.

But if we really want to achieve Dr. King’s dream of a society where people are judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character, we have no choice but to oppose critical race theory.

The alternative is too frightening to even consider.


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories


  1. Hopefully, Mr. Beckman’s next article on this topic will address what happens when these parents run into the reality of all local school board elections and why it’s difficult to make positive changes — candidates financially backed by the local teachers unions.
    Throw in the Left’s latest arguments this week by both NBC News and Congressman Sean Casten that being against Critical Race Theorist is unpatriotic, “bullies” and QAnon now trying to alter their strategy of running for local school board and other local government entities.