It Is Most Definitely Political. So What?

It’s already shaping up to be a long school election campaign season and I may spend it fruitlessly pushing back against nonsense, but I can’t let a few things in KCRG’s coverage of One Community – One Bond pass without comment:

“This isn’t a political issue. This is a public school issue. If you believe in education you believe in the bond,” Pilcher- Hayek said.

Totally weird, right? Because if it isn’t a political issue, why is she speaking on behalf of a political action committee?

Political action is how those of us who choose to be involved participate in the governance of our public schools. Maybe we pay attention and vote. Maybe we speak and/or write about issues. Maybe we attend meetings. Maybe we put up yard signs. Maybe we give money to candidate committees or political action committees. Some of us even run for office or organize political action committees. There is nothing weird or shameful about political activity. And I guess I’ll just keep repeating that as needed.

But there’s also the framing of the bond issue in Pilcher-Hayek’s comments and Kirschling’s comments:

School Board member Brian Kirschling says community support is necessary.

“It’s no secret in the last year, we’ve seen some changes in the national level, in the state level that don’t necessarily support public education, and this is our community’s chance to up or down a vote on education,” he said.

People have all kinds of reasons for voting (or not voting). Maybe the ballot issue for some people is a referendum broadly on (public) education or whether we care about kids or the district administration or the current (or previous) school board. But people can support public education and care about kids and still reject this particular bond proposal. And people can support this particular bond proposal without supporting the district administration or the current school board.

But, ultimately, after the votes are totaled on September 12th, all we will really know is whether or not the district will be authorized to issue GO bonds as specified in the approved bond language.