Public school board associations are fracturing, with states leaving the national group for a competitor, and school districts leaving the state group in Texas.
by Joe Barnett
School districts that have left the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) over curriculum and policy issues could join a new group.
The formation of Texans for Excellence in Education (TEE), a private nonprofit similar to TASB, was announced on June 1. Like TASB, TEE says it will provide training, legal advice, and insurance for school board members, according to Hava Armstrong, executive director.
“For years, school boards and trustees across Texas have grown increasingly frustrated with TASB, but they haven’t had an alternative in the marketplace until now,” stated Armstrong.
Membership in TASB is voluntary for local school boards, and local school districts pay the fees.
TASB has been criticized for using taxpayers’ funds to lobby state legislators for more money for public schools and for its stance on hot-button issues, according to Brandon Waltens, managing editor of Texas Scorecard, which is published by an advocacy group.
“In January, the association advised its members to allow gender-confused students to use the restroom designated for the opposite sex and obscure a student’s preferred name and pronouns if their parents object to their ‘gender identity,'” Waltens wrote on June 1. “Last summer, TASB sponsored a conference promoting critical race theory. And in 2021, TASB declined to take any action regarding explicit books in school libraries after Gov. Greg Abbott sent them a public letter calling on them to do so.”
The Board of Trustees of the Carroll Independent School District, in Southlake, Texas was the first to jump the TASB ship, The Dallas Express reported on March 28.
State Association Left National Group
In a letter to President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) had requested national guard troops and FBI investigations to protect trustees from protesting parents, in September 2021.
The NSBA letter characterized the protests as “a form of domestic terrorism.” In their own protest, state school board associations left the NSBA and formed the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA), in December 2021.
TASB left the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in May 2022, under pressure from Texas’ congressional delegation, and after an independent investigation confirmed the NSBA letter.
The COSSBA has 23 state association members, with another state set to join them on July 1. However, TASB isn’t one of those state groups, and says it isn’t planning to join.
For more great content from School Reform News.