MADISON — While the incumbents on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board escaped bing ousted in last week’s recall election, the grassroots campaign exposed why so many in the district have lost faith in the establishment.
All four recalled incumbents survived the challenge in the nationally watched election that brought out more than 11,000 voters, a massive turnout for a school board election, even a special vote.
Thousands of district voters signed petitions to launch the recall driven by frustrated citizens. Many are sick of the district’s stringent COVID-19 mitigation policies. Others have had it with radical curriculum and race-obsessed indoctrination in the classrooms. Many more are unhappy over what they see as declining academic performance.
To the educcrats and many of the defenders of the status quo, it was all so much insurrection from the unwashed masses. Like Terry McAuliffe put it, parents shouldn’t be telling schools what they should teach. Of course the Democrat lost an election that was supposedly his to lose after expressing that opinion.
The Mequon-Thiensville recall effort may have failed to change the makeup of the school board, a rubber stamp for the left’s education agenda, but it did expose the school district’s hypocrisy and secrecy.
Days before the election, Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Steven M. Cain ordered the district to turn over an email distribution list that was used to invite parents to participate in a virtual conference presented by critical race theorists. The conference, titled “The Talk, a Conversation about Race and Privilege” reportedly cost $42,000.
Mequon resident Mark Gierl sought the list through an open records request. District officials provided staff emails on the distribution list but withheld the emails of district parents. They argued that if parent emails were made public parents would stop providing their email addresses, inhibiting district-parent communication.
Cain rejected the district’s premise, ordering officials to turn over the full distribution list. The judge’s ruling affirms the strong presumption of public access to information in Wisconsin open records law.
“As Judge Cain made clear today, when school districts — or any government officials — start spreading ideological messages, the public has a strong interest in learning whom they are trying to influence. Government distribution lists are public records,” said Attorney Tom Kamenick, president and founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project.
No wonder so many parents, so many voters in this Milwaukee suburban school district have had it with a majority of the school board. They are tools of an administration filled with Terry McAuliffes.
They are also recipients of Empower Wisconsin’s tool of the week.