Davis for Local Ed Op-Ed Reply July 27, 2015
The following is from a letter to the Davis for Local Education group on July 27th, 2015
Davis School Board Members Attacked for Supporting Parents
For those that have not yet seen it, an opinion piece recently appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune attacking new members of the Davis county school board. We will not always agree with the board and I believe that elected officials must be open to criticism, but this article displays an extreme bias and includes blatant untruths. The author uses unsupported accusations and incorrect statements to paint a very misleading picture. Furthermore, the new school board members singled out in this article have shown more willingness to work with parents than we've seen with previous boards. Therefore I felt it necessary to address some of these claims. If you have not yet seen it, you can find the original story HERE.
The author makes provocative claims throughout with no attempts to back them up. From the start, he refers to the board members as "tea-party backed candidates". Yet he doesn't name a single tea party group that backed these candidates. This is because there were none, as those of us who followed these elections closely can attest. In reality, the tea party has no real organized presence in Utah and was not at all active in these elections. Regardless of one's personal feelings on the tea party movement, it's a politically charged label the author is using it in an attempt to portray these specific board members as divisive with no proof.
He then goes a step further, stating that the tea party only supports those who "dislike teachers" in an attempt to make these board members appear anti-teacher. He specifically singles out the new board chairman, Gordon Eckersley, by implying that the chairman wants to cut teacher pay. To do this, the author misrepresents Mr Eckersley's response to a candidate survey from our Davis for Local Education group during the last election. Mr Eckersley actually said that reducing "district officer" salaries would be a way to help education funding in our county, which is almost certainly true as it would allow more funding for teachers in the classroom, not less.
As if this wasn't enough, the author claims the new board members kicked Davis Superintendent Bowles off the dais where board members sit and "cast him into the audience with the rest of the peons." While it's true the Superintendent did sit in the audience for the first meeting with the new board, this was by his own choice; he declined the board's invitation to sit with them. To portray this as a power play on the board's part is extremely misleading. Furthermore, it's telling that the author uses the term "peons" to refer to the public in attendance at the meeting. This is certainly not a mentality portrayed by these new board members who opened up public comment at board meetings by eliminating the bureaucratic hoops that parents previously had to jump through to address the board. If anyone consider us peons, I contend it's people like the author and the entrenched bureaucracy he's supporting that believe they know better than parents.
What Can We Do?
Please make every effort to attend the next scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, August 4th. It will be held at the District Offices in Farmington (45 E State St or Map HERE). The workshop meeting for the board starts at 4:00 PM and the formal meeting starts at 5:30 PM. Both are open to the public.
Just attending the meeting will be a strong show of support. If anyone has a specific issue they would like to address with the board, even if
it's just to thank them for allowing parents to participate more easily, I encourage you to do so as well. You can find guidelines on Public
Comment for the meetings on our website HERE. That page also includes other
helpful information on the board meetings.
Josh Kostial, Davis for Local Education