Arizonans Form Coalition of School Board Members as Alternative to School Boards Association

The Arizona Coalition of School Board Members (ACSBM) was launched this week by a group of Arizonans as an alternative to the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), a 73-year-old monopoly controlled by the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The same government lobbying group asked President Joe Biden’s Justice Department to utilize the PATRIOT Act to investigate disgruntled parents for behavior that they said amounted to “domestic terrorism.”

The Daily Wire reports that the NSBA’s request highlighted Scott Smith, a parent from Loudoun County, Virginia, who was arrested in early October during a school board meeting discussing a plan to extend a gender-neutral bathroom policy. The district reportedly tried to cover up the rape of Smith’s daughter by a boy wearing a skirt in a girl’s restroom.

In contrast to the NSBA and its Arizona affiliate, the ASBA, the newly formed ACSBM, professes to prioritize students. In a promotional video, the organization states, “Students should always be at the forefront of policy considerations – not unions and not special interest groups.”

ACSBM is a non-profit, non-partisan organization similar to ASBA. Unlike ASBA, however, ACSBM will provide services to people who are not school board members. ACSBM vows to promote school choice and family rights. “Active memberships” are available to school board members, while “associate memberships” are available to parents, educational staff, school board candidates, and other community members.

ACSBM Executive Director Katie Ward told The Daily Wire that their organization’s objective is to offer an alternative to school board members who regard ASBA and its views as their only choice. Ward stated: 

“Right now the school boards tend to focus on what they’re being told to do, which is by their association. What we’re pushing is to help school board members focus on more student-centered policy instead of focusing on adult issues. It’s what’s best for the kid that matters.”

She also said that school board members can have a membership with both ASBA and ACSBM if they want to and that “choice is always a good thing — it makes all of us [strive to] be better.” I think the most important thing is that we’re focused on the students. Our main mission is the kids.”

Matt Nielsen, a member of the ACSBM Board of Directors, said that the organization is primarily concerned with reflecting patriotism and traditional American values, as requested by parents.

He also explained:

“We’re giving school board members an option, those who know there’s something wrong and feel that the positions that [ASBA] is taking on – things like critical pedagogy, critical race theory, and all those different ideologies – have no place in the classroom. They can still receive the services they rely on [ASBA] for without all of the social engineering that they pack in along with it.”

ACSBM says it will provide training, development, policy instruction, and assistance. Their first training event will be in December, and an agenda will be released soon.

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