Let’s keep politics out of our school system – Greeley Tribune
My favorite fun day of the year since retiring in 2003 is the first day of school. Living near a Windsor elementary school, I can watch many children make their way to their first day of school, some with trepidation but mostly with excited anticipation.
Moms, dads and grandparents are all rushing to the next kid’s adventure in their lives. Moms, dads, and grandparents usually come home on their own, walking at a slower pace, sometimes with tears.
An iconic American scene that has been going on for decades.
As I write this in September 2021, just a few weeks after the start of our new school year, the scene is very different. We know of combative parents, interruptions in the learning process, huge banners with four-letter swear words waved in front of our school buildings as students arrive, and attacks on the character and professional reputation of our educators, elected school administrators and officials.
What happens to our shared responsibility to provide the next generation with excellent educational opportunities? The time of childhood innocence and the opportunity to learn and grow without the tension and stress of political battles and adult concerns are being stolen from students for political gain.
After serving my community as a member of the Weld RE-4 school board for over twelve years, a member of the City of Windsor board of directors for one year, and mayor of Windsor for four years, I knew these positions were not political – neither Democrat nor Republican. I have always been aware of it, but I never understood why.
Now I know.
Right now, there is a concerted effort to topple two board members, remove the superintendent, and initiate a future recall of two other board members. This group is well funded, organized and openly directly connected with other elected county and state politicians.
This group also included their campaign posters on a political party float during the Windsor Harvest Festival parade. This group, through the insertion of their political views in board meetings, social media and on the sidewalks in front of school buildings, has, according to Superintendent Seegmiller, almost stopped all effective teaching and learning in the district. .
Our public education system at this level was never designed to be a battleground where political issues and ideologies were contested. Educational processes and its stability in Weld RE-4 are under attack due to political ideologies. This group’s movement also infuses “personal rights”, “liberty”, “parental rights” and “the Constitution says” into the melee dialogue.
I don’t believe most of these kids care about adult politics – they just want to be kids and experience school the way it was meant to be. Our children have a right to it, our schools must be free from any particular ideology.
If we as a society allow the politicization of our public schools, they will become future battlegrounds for political opportunists. I certainly do not understand the state of mind of parents who bring their children into the political arena as it is today.
If you are concerned about the educational well-being of students in the Weld RE-4 School District, I strongly recommend the following:
- Support both the Weld RE-4 school bond issue AND the factory fee waiver.
- Vote and support incumbents Lance Nichols and Chris Perkins for the Board of Education.
- Do not sign any recall petitions addressed to Council members Jennifer Lieber and Regan Price.
It’s all about kids, guys!
– Edward Starck is a longtime Windsor resident who served as mayor and council member as well as a member of the Weld RE-4 school board