If you are tired of your school boards not doing their two main important jobs; providing a world-class education and keeping students safe while in their care, then you have a real opportunity to make change. You can do this by running for the school board yourself!
This is a sure fire way of ensuring that toxic and destructive policies are not enabled. You will have a direct effect on stopping the incorporation of “critical race theory”, removing advanced mathematics and science through detracking students and teaching, eliminating advanced or honors classes, weaving into all aspects of the curriculum and teacher trainings, content that involves the tenets of “crititical race theory”, social justice and anti-Americanism, while promoting sexually inappropriate, even pornographic, material in K-12 classrooms
What you can do is RUN FOR SCHOOL BOARD!
If you are asking yourself if you are qualified to run, the answer is YES! You do not need any special qualifications. All you need to do is get your name on that ballot and lobby for your seat.
If you really want to see change, it is up to you to change it. Find out when the elections are and start lobbying your support. Any time you question yourself about whether or not you are a qualified candidate, remind yourself that you are uniquely qualified as a parent who cares about the educational and social/emotional outcomes of students much more than a candidate who is using the school board chair to launch a career into politics.
With that said, it is not a requirement to be a parent to run- you may be a citizen who is concerned about the future leadership of our country. You may just simply care about the education and growth of your county’s kids. You too, are uniquely qualified for the seat. Run!
Steps for Running for School Board
Here is how you can launch your campaign:
- When Is the Election: Create a timeline in order to build a framework for your campaign. Find out when the next school board election will be held. When is the General Election? Work backwards from that date, filling the dates for any primary, candidacy-filling dates, etc.. Figure out when the next school board election will be held.
- Who is Currently on the Board: Wright down each member of the current school board, including what district they represent within your county. Write down pertinent facts about their seat, like: how long have they been serving, will they run again, what are the important issues to their community, what have they done well and what have they not done well while serving. What political affiliation do they represent? Do they have groups behind them? Who is supporting them? If you run for the seat, who will be challenging you?
- Why Are You Running: Write down all the reasons why you want to run for the School Board. For each of those reason, thing about what is good and what is bad under those topics.
- The Good: How is the current school board positively managing issues? It’s important to know about them and be able to talk about them.
- The Bad: This is the important part. This will be your reason for running. Make a list of what the school board and members are not doing well. Do your friends, parents, and family share your beliefs about how the board is doing. Be specific in your documentation about what is going wrong and what issues will make someone support a new school board member
- How will you Fix Things: Tell people how you’d fix the problems, making sure your solutions are doable and realistic. This is the key to gaining support for your campaign.
- What Happened in the Past: Look at past elections to determine how many candidates campaigned for each school board seat. How much money did they raise? How much did they spend? What was the vote count at the end? This will help you develop a plan for action
- The Campaign & Election: Now that you have a campaign plan, it is time to focus on the campaign and then the election.
- Create your team. Find trusted friends, family or neighbors who will support you throughout your campaign. You will need your team to help get petitions signed to get you on the ballot. Someone can handle your donations as your treasurer. Others can help you fundraise, strategize and cheer you on.
- Attend school board meetings. It is imperative that you attend school board meetings in person in order to see all the goings-on that are missed virtually. This will give you valuable insight to use in campaign messaging.
- Know your district. Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about your district. Learn the statistics on the number of students, schools, and employees, the size of the budget and its recent growth, how the budget and school construction is funded, the boundaries and constituent base of the school board seat, and other general information that will help you be familiar with the concerns of fellow parents.
- What’s your message? You know what you and your community want in order to be happy with your schools. Develop your talking points around this and talk about your ideas about how you will address the issues. Always be sure to be positive and to stay away from coming across as angry or extreme.
- Fundraise and Meet & Greet. The part of campaigning that gives most people anxiety is asking for money, but keep in mind that you are asking for money so that you can make the schools better for kids and for the betterment of the community.
- You have to establish a campaign budget. It should be based on research of previous campaigns. You will not be raising money on yourself. Your team should be raising money for you while you are focused on campaigning.
- Important: Spend your time meeting with people and asking them to vote for you. Don’t spend a lot of money on signage. It is much more important to speak to voters.
- Your volunteers should set up many “Meet & Greet” events. They should be simple events that give you the opportunity to talk with people you do not know throughout the community you seek to represent. These events will grow the conversation with your future constituents and help you better understand what they care about.
- Listen, a lot! Be willing to add, adjust, and manage your messaging based on what you hear when you listen to people’s concerns.
- Talk to people – everywhere. Be unafraid to tell everyone you are running and to ask for their vote.
Be Unafraid and Confident!
Finally, prepare yourself for pushback and even some confrontation. If you truly believe in what you are saying,stand firm in your convictions. Surround yourself with like minded people who will stand up for you and fight your fight. Know upfront that people will talk about in person and on social media. If they are doing that, you are doing something right!
Have fun with your campaigning. You will meet all different kinds of people from all across your community who will support you and fight for you.
Never forget the important work you are doing and why you are doing it!
Resources for Parents:
The Name on the Ballot You’ve Never Heard Of: An overview from American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Nat Malkus on why candidates for school board matter.
Southlake, Texas Parents Sweep School Board Elections: They battled back against the Critical Race Theory-pushers and WON! They did it, and you can too!
How To Stop Critical Race Theory In Your Local Schools: Advice from a School Board Member
This School District’s Parents Are Fighting Back in Unison: See how these parents are organizing, communicating, and exposing school board members! Have social-media savvy parents? Take to the local radio airwaves, twitter-sphere and more to carry a campaign message like parents in this county, who are working to recall current school board members while they plan to run and support fellow parents in the next election to take back their school board!
The Makings of a School Board Member: A concise overview of the qualities that make a great school board member. While the article may be somewhat dated, the information and relevancy are not.