THIS is why so many of the local boards got flipped in the November election

November 19 – November’s election saw a number of local boards and municipalities get turned around in terms of the perspectives of policy makers.

The voters stepped up and said, no. We don’t like the way this is headed, which is what the American voting process is supposed to do.

It happened in the Greencastle-Antrim School District, too.

A recent email from an outgoing school board member there might shine a light on why the board got flipped.

GASD had brought in Jay McTighe, an education professional that helped develop the new graduate competency program, Understanding by Design curriculum framework, to the district.

His message, however, had some people concerned.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the change in local boards after November’s election this morning during the Big Talk on First News.

Jansen explained, “I became alarmed about Jay McTighe because I saw different places he was going and speaking where he supports critical theory, social justice type of things. Him talking to teachers, praising them for their involvement with teaching kids about systemic racism. I was told oh, no, no. He’s just about education. He doesn’t believe in any of this stuff.”

Ryan added, “You were told by school board members and various departments and this has been going on for years. This isn’t something that we just started researching here. We’ve been talking about this for years.”

Jansen continued, “I sent an email because this was brought to my attention that Jay McTighe wrote an article basically saying how do you deal with people who come and bring you concerns about critical theory?”

Ryan said, “Jay might be a little bit worried about his money and now school boards flipping all over the place.”

Jansen said, “He says well they fall into two camps. They’re either ignorant, don’t know what they’re talking about and you need to guide them and inform them and educate them.”

Ryan scoffed, “Yeah, school boards need to educate parents.”

Jansen said, “Yeah about we’re not teaching this stuff. It doesn’t matter about anything else. And they’re listening to false reports on social media and media and they’re just getting taken in by it. Or you are some kind of political operative who’s just manipulating the system and trying to get power for Republicans or conservatives or something. And that’s it. That’s your only two choices. You’re ignorant or you’re manipulative. That’s his two choices and he advises the board to marginalize. He calls it the ‘attackticts.’ He said they’re using attackticts to try to say what’s going on. That they’ll bring you examples and it’s all false and then he turns around after he says that and he tells them to use the exact same tactics against these parents to marginalize them and keep them from speaking up.”

Ryan pointed out, “Jay McTighe, he’s the guy that some of the school boards will pay a fortune to.”

“Greencastle-Antrim School District specifically,” Jansen added.

Barkdoll said, “We know local districts, districts all over the state and the country, they’ve been bringing in these sort of consultants or people that do these seminars, so this all sounds very much in line with what we’ve been hearing for the past year or so.”

Jansen said, “And he talks about oh they’ll use he says FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). No dumb dumb, it’s Right to Know. FOYA’s for the federal government. They’ll use Right to Know. They’ll bring up examples from other places like Loudon County, Virginia, and they’ll try to say this might be going on, but he says it’s all fake. All fake and they have to be marginalized.”

“Marginalize the parents,” Ryan said. “Listen, moms and dads. We’re talking about Greencastle because I’ve got a school board member who shot a disgraceful email out and I want to talk about that. This is important that you understand what’s happening on these school boards and why they got flipped.”

Jansen said, “In the email I sent to them, I was actually thoughtful. I wasn’t snarky or whatever. I just said I’m concerned that this is the guy that you guys hired to have influence over the teachers and conduct training programs and then he presents this logical fallacy about parents coming in and expressing their concerns, I have concerns about him.”

Pat Fridgen, outgoing school board member in Greencastle-Antrim School District sent this in an email to Jansen:

“Please stop, Michele. Give the current and future board members credit for having some intelligence to understand what is occurring in our schools and community and to plan what is best for our students. Not everything that is happening nationally or even in Loudon County, Virginia, is infecting our district. We’ve got this. We have a great curriculum. Always have, always will. Were you concerned about CRT a year or two ago? It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon even when the wagon is going in the wrong direction. GASD is in good hands.”

Jansen said, “Maybe she should actually understand when she’s talking to somebody and not make assumptions. No, I didn’t just jump on this band wagon, Pat. I’ve been talking about this for three years now. I’ve been researching it and studying it. I’ve involved myself in programs. I took the training program on CRT that Chambersburg Area School District had recommended for their teachers, A Long Talk 2020, How to be an Anti-Racist. I was involved with a national group that brought in people from both sides of this issue to thoughtfully discuss these things. I’ve read about 25 books both pro and con on all of this stuff and if she wants proof, she can talk to Representative Paul Schemel who I started talking to about this about three years ago. I’ve looked into it. I’ve researched what Pennsylvania’s doing. How Tom Wolf through Trauma Informed Pennsylvania has brought in many of the concepts of CRT. It’s not CRT. It’s critical theory applications that involve race and gender and a lot of other things. I’ve been following this quite carefully and very thoughtfully. I’m trying to bring concerns to the school boards. Not confront them, not attack them, but thoughtfully work together as a community. She doesn’t need to talk down to parents and community members who are trying to bring information.”

“That’s the problem right there,” Ryan said, “And that’s why so many of these school boards are flipping and you see the borough council are flipping. It’s the talking down.”

Jansen added, “And that’s what Jay McTighe did in his article as well.”

Ryan said, “Pat Fridgen, you know where Paul Schemel’s office is, Pat. So have a conversation about stuff. In fact, it was Paul Schemel that you had brought some information to going, oh my goodness, what is going on in some of these school districts?”

“Yeah,” Jansen confirmed. “And the latest thing is going to be the Trauma Informed PA. Unfortunately, the legislators didn’t know that certain critical theory applications were added to that whole thing and then they went and passed laws saying teachers, police officers, municipal leaders all have to be trained in this now and they’re going to be getting that ideology.”

“They’re coming after the kids,” Ryan lamented. “It seems like we’ve got some oldy old school board members that just love titles and love to have these meetings and love to be handed collages, while the kids are suffering because they don’t do a dig. They look at the New Yorker and think they’ve got research done here.”

Barkdoll pointed out, “In less than two weeks, new boards are taking over in these districts, including Greencastle, so the idea that hey, we’re in good hands, well voters spoke a few weeks and voters largely renounced or repudiated the direction in which these districts were going under their current board. I think that speaks volumes. To the extent they’ve been bringing in these speakers and these contractors, I think you’re going to see a new direction in less than two weeks when the new boards take over because I don’t think these new majorities are going to support any of this. They’re not going to agree to these kind of contracts, hiring these kind of vendors, bringing these people in for this type of training. I realize if someone’s outgoing, it’s easy to say hey we’ve been doing great, we’re in great hands, but the reality is you look at the election results from a few weeks ago, the voters have spoken and apparently the voters did not feel things were moving in a good direction.”

“Very good point,” Ryan agreed. “Pay attention to that. It happens at the ballot box, Pat.”