“All politics is local,” as the late Democrat Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tipp” O’Neill once famously noted, and this past week’s local and state elections proved his observation to be correct, and most likely, long lasting.

Political observers were confounded by the overarching conservative tenor of voters as they turned out or threatened normally safe Democrat candidates during what is considered a quiet political campaign period. Now these pundits are parsing the results to determine the influence that national issues and personas such as President Biden and past President Trump had on the voters.

What is missing in this analysis is the role that local issues, particularly debates concerning education, played in the ultimate voting outcome.

Jennifer Hudson, Newport, penned a letter to the editor in Wednesday’ News-Times which asked “Where was the parental involvement?” Ms. Hudson’s contention is that parents have been absent or unconcerned about what she describes as “liberal indoctrination of our kids,” but she also notes that a renewed concern is “evolving pretty quickly.”

The letter writer’s concern and observations are accurate. There has been a trust placed on government institutions and agencies such as the public schools and their elected overseers. But as another famous politician, President Ronald Reagan, admonished, “trust but verify.” Until recently it has been the verification process that has suffered.

Over the years, as school systems have been enlarged, the complexities and costs have increased which has resulted in parents entrusting the day-to-day operations to “professionals.” Subsequently there has been a growing separation between parents and the educational environment which resulted in parents being told not to interfere.

One North Carolina teacher went so far as telling parents to not observe their students who were participating in remote classes in their homes during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The other most recent instance was Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate who stated that parents should not tell schools what to teach.

The forced quarantine of public school students during the past year and a half has pulled the covers back on what and how students have been taught and in the process reignited parental interest in education. At the same time this has raised concerns about other government agencies that heretofore have benefited from taxpayer and voter’s benign neglect.

The proposed curriculum changes related to the state’s new social studies curriculum hardly gained any notice until the topic of “Critical Race Theory” was debated. Suddenly, parent and policy makers took notice. Then the concerns about mask and quarantine requirements associated with Covid-19 pandemic created impassioned debates.

The capstone of this new found concern about local issues came as a result of a Loudoun County, Va. parent challenging the county’s school board about the lack of action and concern regarding the assault on his daughter by a self-identified transgender student who was allowed the use of the girl’s bathroom.

The parent of the assault victim complained to an obviously unconcerned school board and superintendent who, it has been proven, lied about knowing anything about the assault. Following the board meeting during which the parent complained, the father was being described by U.S. Department of Justice officials as a potential “domestic terrorist.”

This event, along with the dismissive attitude of the local school board and government officials, set off a firestorm among parents in Loudon County. The result was a shocking victory for the Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and other Republican contenders in a state and region that is considered comfortably liberal with a strong Democrat base, particularly in Loudoun County.

The Loudoun County case, along with the complaints of parents in local school boards across the country related to curriculum standards, pandemic mandates and a growing concern about the educational progress of their students, is renewing interest among parents who are also taxpayers and most importantly – voters. This focus on local issues is just beginning.

Interest in the activities of the previously mundane management of the schools is also now filtering into the responsibilities of municipal and county management. Attentiveness to the actions of local governance is both necessary and long overdue. The end result will be that both incumbents and those seeking office will need to be more transparent and more responsive to those they serve - the public.

(19) comments

dc

That last paragraph sums it up in a nutshell. Will All our elected and unelected officials take it seriously? Some recent news is a start, but they need to step up the game.

David Collins

Unless there is a “groundswell” , I hate that overused term , movement to cleanse both parties of their bad actor constituents “ misguided self serving hacks “ nothing will change . Just sink further into political chaos and mismanagement . Those that seek to destroy our Republic will see opportunity and act on it . That is a guarantee .

Loudon County is just an indicator of a far greater problem . A problem far too big for any band aid but change can start with the first small step . Been known to happen .

noitall

Charter schools - problem solved. But that is not a good solution long term. Add in a flat 3% income tax with no loopholes. 4% is too low.Mexico is a good example of where we are heading. One party politics's - the PRE .run by the teachers union. No middle class. No welfare of any kind. Cartels and drug money control everything. Protester's family are murdered. And we welcome these people with a $445,000 gift for coming to help us kill our country. What could go wrong???

Here we go again!

Do you mean a 4% flat tax just on income or on income + all other assets?

drewski

Well that is one opinion certainly. Another might be the GOP esp the far right wing has brought the " culture wars" to the school board level, as part of the campaign to enrage, inflame and engage their ( minority) portion of the electorate.

I do agree parents are absent from their children's education, and sadly most of their lives as well. ( just admit it you have no clue what snapchat is or who they are engaging with) The electronic /information age has changed society and not always for the better. The manufactured outrage over McAuliffe's comment is just one more indicator of the spin doctors, think tanks and media outlets that are desperate to "gain control," and return us to a largely imaginary good ole days. ** theme from all in the family plays quietly in background**

Time marches foreword, some people are willfully lost in the past. I don't want parents, especially low information folks with a far right, or far left wing agenda dictating the curriculum in public schools. A few years ago the cumberland county school district was under siege from parents irate about sex ed, I want my kids to have accurate factual information. If you want to be a great grandpa at 45 years old that is your choice. I suggest home schooling. If your comments are peppered with" CRT" "woke" "socialism" and the like you are the last person I want influencing my child's school curriculum.

(Edited by staff.)

dc

Some folks either don't care or completely missed the point in the editorial about what happened to that parent and his daughter. Talk about political and common sense deafness and blindness. Rather than addressing the REAL problems the Ds as usual pulling all their usual cards and then doubling down, but it didn't work in Va.

dc

If anybody has brought cultural wars to the BOE level it is the leftist policies pushed by this and previous D administrations, their DOE and other appointed leftist agency heads and their leftist bureaucrats, along with leftist unions, wrongheaded leftist judicial decisions, etc. The Parkland tragedy is a prime example. Clearly school safety and those leftist policies were deciding factors in the VA elections. Cover-up of the resulting crimes that take place on a daily basis and playing a shell game trying to convince the citizens the problems were created by something and/or somebody else is typical of the policies and diversions of the left. Leftist open border, anti-police, rioting and killing, burning and the leftist list of defying law and order goes on but this admin is laser focused on parents like the one wanting answers as to how and why his daughter was raped by a boy with a gender identity issue was allowed to frequent the girl's restroom and then covered up by a Leftist crowd of fools.

dc

After the VA elections maybe those winning the cultural wars will go well beyond the BOE level. Locally we may not have too many problems but statewide and nationwide is a whole different story. We are growing at a pretty good clip and with Leftist policies being mandated from above and every other direction don't bet similar or much worse problems like that VA student and parent can't happen anywhere in the country.

dc

The only problem for conservatives with winning an election against Leftists' failed policies is they don't last and the Left pushes even harder towards totalitarianism.

"Not to Rain on Our Parade, But..." by Christopher Skeet.

kenwood

There was a time parents believed the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. Today far too many parents believe the covid virus isn't real or part of a conspiracy, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, that climate change isn't real, etc,etc,etc. Most of us were formally educated by educators, not "parents". Let the educators teach, let parents parent, hopefully with better results than some of us display..

drewski

For some reason after 3 attempts perhaps this time the ccnt will print the actual numbers from va gov election, youngkin won by 70k votes in a state of 8.7 million.

So those looking at this as some red wave or watershed moment had best check their math. Meanwhile, in Loudon County, what happened to that girl was a crime, the school principal made a serious error in judgement. Not the school board, the principal. That boy was tferred to another school, assaulted another girl, and is in jail.( where he belongs) THE rumor that the boy wore a dress and has gender identity issues was heard by the father " somewhere", endlessly repeated and has no basis in fact. It suits some folks agenda to keep it going. The constant attacks and insults to the dems aka " leftists" go unchecked by the web editors, well reasoned,fact based rebuttals and exact quotes somehow violate the " jerk clause" or the thread is just closed.

dc

Right, let the teachers teach, keep politics out of the classrooms and schools including higher education and definitely keep Leftists' agendas out of schools that allow boys in girls' restrooms. Then prosecute those who try to cover it up.

David Collins

The amazing thing about the VA election is that even with the flood of absentee ballots from the cemeteries all across the blue state , you kin still won . Sadly , not the case in NJ . Just way too many cemeteries . Wink , wink .

dc

Getting back to elections, it's nice to see Durham lay the origin of the widespread effort to destroy a president and presidency at the doorstep of HRC. Didn't some communist voting top dog let the boss know what she was up to and evidently approved? Guess we'll find out more about that at some point since Ratcliffe says he turned over 1,000s of documents to Durham that should lead to much more if he's allowed to take it to a logical conclusion. It should get more interesting but getting to the bottom of it years after the fact and destruction of people but more importantly a presidency and the country will go down in history as the biggest fraud ever perpetrated. That's if the country survives to have a history with the crooks running it now. Some of us knew all along while others supported the fraud and/ir played dumb.

dc

Oh, and about getting politics out of education it ain't gotta happen. Why is education nationwide in such shambles after being run by the D bureaucrats forever?

drewski

Nothing new here, the same tired suggestions of voter fraud. That topic has already been hashed to death on this forum. Logic suggests if there was fraud it would be blaring on specific news outlets day and night, and yet the few instances they did find tend to be from the party who insists there is/was widespread fraud.

I am just amazed that folks just refuse to face the truth and believe and repeat demonstrably false ideas. How on earth can you have rational dialog with folks who just keep repeating what they are told, with not a scintilla of thought about the truth of the matter.

A recent example: Kelly Anne Conway asserts on hannity that, " in her 4 yrs in the white house, there was never any supply chain issues like we see today. "

Actual facts: months of bare store shelves and a nation wide ongoing shortage of toilet paper, facts clearly known by everyone. Simple gaslighting and yet it has such widespread acceptance? WOW!

dc

Right, the so-called media has been truthful about everything. That's why Durham is agreeing with them about Russian collusion. Evidently, it was your D heroes colluding and your great media supporting them all the way.

dc

Btw, the next "bucket" will probably focus on the crooked "investigators" who knew who was really colluding.

dc

We all could learn something from this article. "Fixing public education in America, one state Legislature at a time" by Molly Slag.

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