On Tuesday, a group of Arizonans launched the Arizona Coalition of School Board Members (ACSBM) as an alternative to the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA): a 73-year-old monopoly held by the National School Boards Association (NSBA). That’s the very government lobbying group that requested President Joe Biden’s DOJ use the PATRIOT Act to investigate individuals including parents for behavior that they claimed could rise to the level of “domestic terrorism,” a call that the Biden administration heeded in recent weeks.
NSBA’s request cited an arrest at a school board meeting earlier this year involving Loudoun County, Virginia, parent Scott Smith. Earlier this month, Daily Wire reporter Luke Rosiak revealed in an explosive investigative report that Smith’s arrest happened at a school board meeting discussing a plan to expand a gender-neutral bathroom policy, all while the district may have covered up the alleged rape of Smith’s daughter by a boy in a girls bathroom.
Unlike NSBA and its Arizona chapter, ASBA, this new association claims it will put students first.
“Students should always be at the forefront of policy considerations – not unions and not special interest groups,” asserted ACSBM’s first promotional video.
Just as with ASBA, ACSBM is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Unlike ASBA, though, ACSBM will offer services to more than just school board members. In doing so, ACSBM promises to prioritize school choice and parental rights. School board members are eligible for “active memberships,” while parents, educational staff, school board candidates, and other community members are eligible for “associate memberships.”
In an interview with The Daily Wire, ACSBM Executive Director Katie Ward explained that their organization’s goal is to untie the hands of school board members who see ASBA and its will as their only option.
“Right now the school boards tend to focus on what they’re being told to do, which is by their association,” explained Ward. “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.”
Ward explained that school board members can establish membership with both ASBA and ACSBM if they wish.
“Choice is always a good thing – it makes all of us [strive to] be better,” reiterated Ward. “I think the most important thing is that we’re focused on the students. Our main mission is the kids.”
Arizona law allows school governing boards to choose if they will join an association with other governing board members.
ACSBM said it will provide training and development, policy training and guidance, and advocacy. Their first training event will occur the first weekend in December. An agenda will be published in the near future.
In ACSBM’s first press release, the governing board president of Dysart Unified School District, Dawn Densmore, expressed her relief at finally having a choice.
“I want to be a part of a school board association that listens to all of its members. We live in a society that values choice, and we have never had one,” stated Densmore. “I am looking forward to growing with the Coalition and all of our Arizona school board members having a choice in associations.”
ACSBM Board Member Matt Nielsen told The Daily Wire that they are most interested in representing what parents have been requesting: patriotism and traditional American values.
“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,” explained Nielsen. “They can still receive the services they rely on [ASBA] for without all of the social engineering that they pack in along with it.”
As of this report, Ward shared that they’ve been flooded with requests for membership.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for The Daily Wire and AZ Free News. Have something you think the mainstream media won’t cover? Send tips to corinnejournal[email protected].