Mississippi, Illinois Part Ways with National School Board Association over Letter to White House

POLITICS & POLICY
An anti-critical race theory sign is held at a Loudon County School board meeting in Ashburn, Va., June 22, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Continuing the wave of withdrawals, Mississippi and Illinois are the latest state school board groups to cancel their membership with the National School Board Association over its letter to the Biden administration requesting federal investigation of parents who protest at school-board meetings.

Most of the alienated state chapters have expressed the same grievances as their reasoning for departure. They have slammed the NSBA’s decision to send the letter, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to deploy the FBI and federal law enforcement to investigate and potentially prosecute parents who “threaten” school administrators, as an encroachment on their local affairs.

Mississipi’s group, one of the many who were not consulted by the NSBA before the letter was issued to President Biden, was no exception. In a decision voted on Monday, the MSBA Board of Directors severed its relationship with the headquarters, adding that it does not see “the value of continued membership,” according to Mississippi Today.

“The September 29 letter from NSBA to President Biden, with the inflammatory language and the request for federal agencies to intervene in our communities, was just one in a series of lapses in governance,” MSBA President Leroy Matthews and Executive Director Denotris Jackson wrote in an email to school board presidents and superintendents.

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On Thursday, Illinois voted to end its affiliation with the NSBA, citing “repeated attempts” to ensure its representation and the recognition of its interests at the national level, which ultimately were not fulfilled.

“This decision follows repeated attempts by representatives of IASB and other state associations to bring about changes in governance, transparency and government oversight necessary to ensure the viability of the national organization and IASB’s membership in it,” the chapter wrote in its exit statement.

Now including Mississippi and Illinois, 14 state groups have cut ties with and 26 have distanced themselves from the national organization after the letter, according to a database compiled by nonprofit Parents Defending Education.

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