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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Appeasement doesn't work, school board members should understand that.

 In the 1930s, Nevile Chamberlain pushed a policy of appeasement towards Germany. The reasoning was, if we let them do what they want to do to those other people, they will leave them alone, and it worked for a while. The problem is bullies and demagogues always circle back, and that's a lesson Florida's school boards should have learned.  

Every time DCPS's school board did not fight against an executive order, or a bad law, every time they ignored the powers and responsibilities given to them by the state constitution, which says.   "The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district " It emboldened Tallahassee to take and do more to harm our teachers, students, and schools.

First, Tallahassee came for teachers and their representatives, and the school board didn't do anything, then it came for our students and the school board didn't do anything, then it came for our schools looking to replace them with private and charter schools, and school boards didn't do anything, well now they are coming for school boards, and sad to say it was just a matter of time. 

Sam Garrison of Clay county is proposing a constitutional amendment that would strip school board members of salaries, making them the only constitutionally elected officers who would not receive compensation. This would ensure only the wealthy and often disconnected would run our schools. I have numerous issues with our current school board numerous, but them being paid is not one of them.

This isn't the first time a proposal like this has come down the pipe. Though in years past, they were thought to more of a threat, and if you fight back against our proposals to erode school board power or privatize the state's schools, we will come after you next. A constitutional amendment, however, takes these threats up to the next level. 

The state constitution is very clear who will run an area's schools, and Tallahassee may choose to ignore that part of the constitution like they have with the class size amendment, funding education, marijuana, and fellow voting rights, but that does not erase them. What does erase then, however, is what our school board has been doing for the last decade, and that's pretending they don't exist in an effort to appease Tallahassee. 

Appeasement does not work. We need a school board that will stand up for teachers, students, and schools, though if they won't stand up for them, it is hard to imagine they will even stand up for themselves.

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