WSSDA: State-sponsored Theft from Students
By Guest Columnist Nancy Churchill
It’s time to re-imagine WSSDA, the Washington State School Directors Association. In an excellent article titled “Stop diverting education money to WSSDA’s lobbying operation and fund music, art and athletic programs instead,” author Liv Finne makes a powerful case against the continued existence of the state agency (bit.ly/3ws9KrQ).
WSSDA is an agency which was created in 1983 by Chapter 28A.345 of the Revised Code of Washington. Chapter 28A.345 defines the agency’s duties, membership, and powers, and it was defined as “The public necessity for the coordination of programs and procedures pertaining to policymaking and to control and management among the school districts of the state... and in the furtherance of such coordination there is hereby created for said purpose an agency of the state…” (bit.ly/307aUgy, emphasis added).
In fulfilling its duties, this agency is required “to take such action as the association deems advisable to effect a coordination of policymaking, control, and management of the school districts of the state” and “to prepare and submit to the superintendent of public instruction annually, and oftener if deemed advisable by the association, reports and recommendations respecting the aforesaid matters and any other matters which in the judgment of the association pertain to an increase in the efficiency of the common school system” (bit.ly/2ZTXUKJ, emphasis added).
So, by law, in order to increase “efficiency” in “policymaking, control, and management,” this agency directly undermines local elected control of school districts, by coordinating programs, procedures, and policymaking statewide, regardless of the needs and educational goals of individual local communities.
For elected school board members, known as “school directors”, membership in WASSDA is mandatory. The agency is funded by membership “dues”, paid out of each district’s general fund. According to Ms. Finne’s research, this state-sponsored theft from local property taxpayers totals $3.5 million per year! This is general fund money, that could be used to provide better basic education, music, art, and athletic programs (bit.ly/3mQw7Un). Instead of serving the best interests of our children, WSSDA promotes state-level efforts to teach Critical Race Theory to our school children. Ms. Finne writes, “This harmful and divisive curriculum says that white students are oppressors and that students of other ethnicities are disempowered victims. Instead of fostering caring and independent minds, CRT pits students against one another, and deprives them of the agency to think for themselves.” WSSDA also supports the actions of the National School Board Association, as I described in “What Does WSSDA Think About Parents?” (Oct. 27, bit.ly/3o58maO). If you remember, the NSBA sees caring parents as ignorant, violent, domestic terrorists, standing in the way of the delivery of progressive ideas and ideologies. When I wrote this article, I wasn’t aware local school directors and boards were mandated by law to support this state agency that constantly works against the best interests of our students, communities, and social peace. However, once you understand how the system works, you can work to change the system. Here’s how...
Parents who care about the quality of education must now become active and tireless advocates for change. We need to work to elect state legislators who are willing to change to law to stop the transfer of local education tax monies to a state agency. We need to ask for participation by our school board members in WSSDA to be voluntary. Until that happens, we must work to elect school board directors who will work within WSSDA to change the agency into one that supports great education, rather than a political agenda. It’s time for parents to become citizen activists, working to change WSSDA from inside and out. Start by contacting your school board members, and simply get to know them. Ask them lots of basic questions: What type of education do they support? Do they support theories like the 1619 Project, CRT, Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and Comprehensive Sex Edcation (CSE)? Or, do they just want your children to get the best start in life possible, by providing a great classical education? If your board members don’t support your values in your community, it’s time to learn how to replace them in their next election. If you have positive, education-focused school board directors, encourage them to get involved in the messy business of challenging existing WSSDA leadership. It’s going to take time, energy, and attention, but it’s critical our school board directors work to change this state-sponsored agency so our kids receive a great education.
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.