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Bolling: Vote No on Elected School Boards in Hanover County

This November, Hanover citizens will have the opportunity to vote on a referendum to establish an elected school board in Hanover County. I am writing today to encourage Hanover voters to vote NO on this misguided initiative.

Let me start by saying that I am a strong supporter of public schools. I went to public schools. Jean Ann went to public schools, and our two sons received an excellent education in Hanover County public schools. Appointed school boards have served Hanover County well.

Folks, no matter what the supporters of this proposal say, elected school boards will do nothing but further politicize public education, and that’s the last thing we need.

No system is perfect, but elected school board members will quickly become just another level of politician, influenced by their political party and their political ideology. That’s not what public education needs.

Yes, I know that elected school boards are supposed to be non-partisan, but they are not. Candidates for the school board may not run on a political party label, but they will quickly become endorsed by and supported by political parties. It is a distinction without a difference.

What amazes me is that many of the people supporting elected school boards in Hanover County are fairly progressive. They believe that elected school boards will result in a more moderate approach to public education through the election of “educational activists.” They could not be more naive in this thought.

Hanover County consistently votes 65%+ for conservative, Republican candidates. They will do the same for school board candidates. Candidates endorsed by the Republican Party and the Tea Party will consistently win in at least six of Hanover’s magisterial districts.

Interestingly, and to their credit, the Hanover GOP and local Tea Party groups are opposing this initiative. I commend them for doing so. They know that Hanover’s educational system is currently delivering a quality product, and, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Proposals like this sound good. “Let the people decide,“ supporters say. But this is a bad idea, plain and simple.

I could offer a lot more reasons why this proposal should be defeated, but you get the drift. Just do public education in Hanover County a favor and vote NO on elected school boards!