Parents & Grassroots Citizen Involvement: the Unsung Heroes of Local Elections

THE POWER OF THE PARENT'S VOICE

"The duties of parents to their children are to maintain, protect & educate them" Noah Webster Dictionary of 1828.

Parents across the Parkway school district have gotten involved in making their voices heard in record numbers to protect their children and the community from an extreme social agenda of hate and intolerance. Those same parents have been pushing for a return to common sense traditional values. As a result, many changes have come about since Parkway’s school board followed Dr. Keith Marty’s recommendation and approved extreme sex-ed curriculum in defiance of strong parental opposition. Parent involvement continues to make a huge impact.

PARKWAY DECISIONS CONTINUE TO HAVE BROAD MEDIA COVERAGE.

Parkway School District Media Coverage since March 2016 have written about controversy in the Parkway school district beyond the Sex Ed curriculum. Mass Resistance MO has documented examples of bullying as well as partisan education lessons in high school classes and assemblies. Several parents have hired attorneys to help them resolve educational agendas impacting their children.

Mass Resistance-MO continue to hear from parents reporting they are opting their child out of sex education curriculum at all levels. Based on reports we are receiving, more parents are speaking out to their building level principal about agenda-driven events in their child’s school. And they are beginning to build coalitions.

WHEN PARENTS SPEAK UP, CHANGE HAPPENS

 

Below is a list of several changes that we believe came about as a result of consistent parental input over a period of time. Certainly being vigilant about the details of every item is critical to protect students from encroaching on family values. Some examples are below:

 

  • When a Parkway administrator suggested a new board policy at the August 3, 2016 board meeting called the “civility policy,” parents were immediately concerned, especially because the policy applied to parents but not teachers or staff. Even more concerning was the proposal that the civility policy be passed at the very next board meeting. Multiple parents wrote letters and called their elected representatives questioning how a school district could violate parental rights by prohibiting access to district property when their child attended the Parkway school district. Dr. Marty said the policy was critical to the safety of his staff.  Thanks completely to parents, the BOE Proposed Civility Policy was never reintroduced for a vote.
  • Parents and community members have consistently maintained a presence at school board meetings. Previously, board meetings were often attended by one or two parents. It was observed that some school board meetings would move locations but not post that new location online as required by the Secretary of State’s office.
  • When it comes to being more observant of board meetings, more closed board meetings began to happen. After much persistence by numerous vocal parents, the Project Parkway meetings have begun to be videotaped and archived. This is a huge step forward in transparency & is in thanks to parent action. 

 

  • Parents have stopped accepting “no” as an answer and continue to push for involvement in the decision-making process such as having a parental equal representation on the school Calendar Committee and other committees inside Parkway administrative structure.
  • For perhaps the first time, parents no longer believe that their school district administrators always have their child’s interest at heart. Parkway is forced to attempt to convince parents such as the two Sex Ed curriculum open houses they hold. Parents are no longer fooled.
  • Since March 2016, there have been half-a-dozen board meetings with a tremendous surge in parent participation. Parents hold up documents. They ask the board to respond immediately to questions on the spot. They send Sunshine Requests to force the school district to be more transparent to families and the voting community.

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION

As parents began coming to the same meetings, they naturally connected. Various pro-life and pro-family groups and organizations begin to spring up including Mass Resistance-MO. Seed money was donated by one vocal parent while graphic design was donated by another. A former copy editor gave tips on how to create investigative reporting.  Parents began connecting with their state representatives, senators and US. Representatives.

Beyond the local grassroots synergy, Mass Resistance-MO’s work was recognized by national organizations, national leaders and international pro-life and pro-family groups. Several parents attended local conferences, their expenses  compensated by pro-life and pro-family groups that saw how strong and effective our parental voice is in the district. We were asked by several organizations to create a toolkit to be used on the national level. We became consultants to other states and began working with other pro-life and pro-family groups in Missouri as well.

CANDIDATES COME FORWARD, PARENTS PAY ATTENTION

Voters who expect more responsible use of their taxes began to investigate school board candidates. Several questionnaires were sent to candidates and information was disseminated by various parent organizations, including a scorecard by another parent/community group. Quickly it was realized that among the 11 candidates, there was a social-agenda slate of 4 candidates. Word among the various pro-life and pro-family grassroots organization spread quickly.

 

Here are some of the highlights of events just during the school board race.

Parkway consistently stays in the news for its controversy and divisiveness. Just during the school board race, there was a lot of coverage:

  • On February 28, 2017, local parents and community leaders in Mass Resistance MO publicly announce their support of Thrive’s Best Choice as an abstinence-based curriculum.
  • On March 6, 2017, Jamie Allman questions the firestorm and hatred over the abstinence-based ThriVe Best Choice curriculum. He asks a Parkway parent to appear on his show to explain the parents' perspective.
  • On March 30, Parkway board race is given prominence by the Dave Glover Show when Glover asks Mom Christina “MAGA Mom” Cortina to provide her perspective on air.
  • All together, there are more than 10 radio and TV interviews related to the Parkway school board election.

ELECTION RESULTS

So, let’s look at the results of the election.

  • Typically, candidates endorsed by the local NEA teacher’s union have an automatic 3,000 votes. However, the 2 NEA-endorsed board candidates did not win, in spite of the endorsement.
  • The NEA endorsed incumbent Chris Jacob did not win re-election.  As readers may remember, at the August 2016 board meeting, Board President Jacob not only allowed social agenda citizens to use their statement time as a bully pulpit to traditional value parents, but he firmly declared the board would not revote on the sex ed curriculum for the next 5 years. We believe that statement cost him his re-election.
  • Another grassroots group distributes a researched and documented candidate scorecard to a large number of voter households throughout the district which is in direct opposition to the progressive Slate postcard sent out.
  • A record number of parents & community members actively promote the pro-life and pro-family candidates running.  They speak positively to their neighbors, get very positive feedback and then staff more than 40% of the polling places on Election Day.
  • The number of people voting on Election Day skyrocketed from 12% in 2012 to an unprecedented 23% in 2017.
  • Although one of the 4 progressive “Slate” candidates did win a seat, the other 3 candidates did not win broad support. They won 6%, 8% and 11.5% of the overall vote.

Parents and Community Members were energized. They knew that they had enlightened many residents for this election and the next election cycle in 2018. The groundswell of support was intoxicating. Parkway voters reminded us all – they aren’t tired of winning yet. The best is yet to come.

 

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